Holmes County set to enjoy Celebration of the Arts

Holmes County set to enjoy Celebration of the Arts

Celebration of the Arts will take place April 11 at the Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center at Hiland High School. The evening focuses on the many various gifts and talents of Holmes County’s youth.


The flavors of the east and west side of Holmes County will unite in one accord when West Holmes and East Holmes School Districts get together for the biennial Holmes County Celebration of the Arts event at Hiland High School’s Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center on April 11.

In a celebration that has gone on for many years, the evening will feature some of the finest art projects from throughout both school districts from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as combined musical performances from both of the schools’ bands and choirs.

The public is invited to attend this showcase of the county’s young talent with doors opening from 5:30-7 p.m. The gymnasium will host walls and aisles of drawings, paintings, sculptures, pottery and other assorted art mediums and at 7 p.m., the musical portion of the evening will take place with the combined choirs and bands creating a symphonic sound.

The art show will feature pieces teachers throughout each district have chosen as pieces that signify many things, from bold and beautiful to thought-provoking. While teachers collect the material throughout the course of the year, there are times they witness a student who pours his/her heart and soul into a piece, and that alone may earn a spot in the show.

“Sometimes it is not about who ‘did the best.’ Sometimes it is about a student accomplishing a new skill,” East Holmes School District elementary art teacher Kris Flinner said. “It’s about them doing their best. I think that is just as important as a student doing exactly what was assigned.”

Most teachers collect projects over a period of time, and some of them may only have students for nine weeks while some of the elementary teachers might only see students once a week throughout the year.

Therefore they must make a big impact on their students and inspire them in a very minimal amount of time.

“If a student’s piece makes it to the show, that is a great plus, but to me the most important thing is that we inspire our students to think creatively and problem-solve in creative ways,” West Holmes Middle School art teacher Amy Rohr said. “That’s why they are here, and when they can accomplish those two things, it is only going to help them in every other aspect of school and in their lives.”

Both Flinner and Rohr said choosing pieces for the show is always difficult because they recognize how much work many students put into their art. Rohr said students do get a sense of satisfaction in being able to see their art showcased at the event.

“It’s validation for them that the process they went through meant something,” Rohr said. “We like to exhibit our art throughout the school year here at school. But this event give hundreds of kids a chance to have their talents put on display for the community to see, and that is exciting. I think the other thing this does is that it captures a population of kids whose strengths and talents oftentimes don’t get showcased.”

The musical presentations of the band, followed by the choir, means a lot of practice for the two schools’ participants. However, the issue is they must cram that practice into an intense two weeks on their own before the two schools get together on the day of the event to unite their talents into one.

West Holmes will travel to Hiland High School, arriving at 12:30 p.m. The combined choir and band will rehearse intensely for the next several hours, this being the first time they perform the selected numbers together.

“It is really neat to see the schools come together like this to perform,” West Holmes band director Brian Dodd said. “The kids enjoy talking with the other school and getting to know each other, and they really seem to enjoy the magnitude that this event presents.”

Both the band and the choir work diligently to perfect their songs, and while it is taxing on everyone, it is especially tough for those involved in both the choir and band because they must go back and forth between the two practices and learn twice as many songs.

Before the event begins, the Hiland High School Music Booster Club will serve dinner to the students in preparation for their performance.

Dodd said the other interesting aspect of the evening is the students get to perform under the tutelage and direction of guest conductors. The band will be led by Dr. Jeff Gershman of Capital University while the choir will be under the direction of Dr. Britt Cooper of Walsh University.

Each director will bring their own unique flair to the event, presenting nuances and techniques students can learn.

“Working under a guest director is always exciting,” Dodd said. “I am a firm believer that any time the kids get to work under a guest director, they always learn something new. The kids may hear things they have heard before that are presented in a different way, and that helps them learn to improve their skills.”

The public is invited to this free art show and concert, which celebrates the incredible talents among Holmes County’s youth.

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