Academic Insights: TCS Arts Department

Death of a Salesman

“Be great in act, as you have been in thought.” – William Shakespeare

As the days head rapidly and creatively toward the end of another school year, I am struck by the boundless levels of imagination and creativity exhibited by our students at Trinity College School, which have been a constant source of inspiration.

As our year in the arts began, we were blessed by two new additions to our department: Ms. Nicola Lee in music and Ms. Sally McKay-LePage in visual arts. Ms. Lee has brought a wealth of experience, expertise and creativity to our exploration of music and, along with Mr. Jeff Biggar, has provided a myriad of musical experiences for our students. In addition to our rich music curriculum, ensembles such as the Trinity Winds, Trinity Singers and the Senior jazz band continue to be popular offerings. As well, new ensembles such as the TCS Rock Band were added to the many co-curricular music opportunities for students. Some of the highlights of a successful year have included fundraising concerts to benefit the Northumberland Food Share food bank and Camp Oochegeas. TCS music students also performed in various venues in the local community during Week Without Walls and throughout the year, including the Peterborough hospital, Victoria Retirement Living, Empire Crossing, Rose Glen Village and Regency Manor. The School hosted its annual Jazz Festival in March, with William Carn as the guest adjudicator. And as we wrap up the year, TCS will host the regional drumline competition, which is always a very popular event.

In the visual arts we celebrated the arrival of Ms. Tamara Reay’s first child, a daughter named Beatrix, and we also celebrated the arrival of Ms. McKay-LePage, who took over Ms. Reay’s classes for the year. Ms. McKay-LePage brought to the visual arts program an imaginative and skilled approach to art. Her positive and collaborative nature and her willingness to embrace the demands of TCS were greatly appreciated. Along with Ms. Jessie Ironside, our director of co-curricular arts, our visual arts faculty provided students with wonderful experiential learning opportunities. Within the academic stream, student artwork was the focus of a local exhibition at the Little Station Gallery in Port Hope. Students experienced, first-hand, the process of a working artist, from the creation of works, to the gallery set-up, exhibition and discussion of their works. Senior visual arts students attended the CIS Arts Innovation and Creativity Festival last fall at St. Andrew’s College, where they participated in workshops devoted to such disciplines as clay sculpting, ephemeral art, filmmaking and printmaking. While we will welcome back Ms. Reay with open arms in September, we are delighted to know that Ms. McKay-LePage will still be part of the TCS family as she moves her talents to the Junior School.

Last but by no means least, the dramatic arts at TCS continue to thrive, having fostered 94 students throughout the Grade 10, 11, and 12 academic sections. Students worked on independent monologue performances, children’s theatre, and explored the works of Shakespeare, Shaw and Beckett, to name but a few. Our Grade 12 students were treated to a performance of a wonderful comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong, at the Mirvish Theatre. Of the many highlights, our productions of Salt-Water Moon by David French and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller rounded out a successful performance season.

Through the leadership of Ms. Ironside, students were introduced to a few new exciting programs in the co-curricular arts program, with more on the way for next year. This year we added programs such as square dancing and university portfolio building, along with options such as photorealistic oil painting and pinch pottery.

Moving into next year, we are proud to announce the start of a “Master Class” vocal specialist program, three gallery romps in Toronto for Saturday programming, a large format digital portrait photography co-curricular option led by Mr. Myke Healy, and we will be staging a musical.

When all is said and done, the arts at TCS are very much alive and well due to the imaginative and creative talents of our students. Through them, we as artists and educators are able to foster not only an appreciation of the arts but also develop some amazingly gifted artists in their own right.

- By Bill Walker, head of the arts department