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9 Months of Art

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As the school year is coming to an end in the coming weeks, many seniors are saying goodbye to the high school that has offered them immeasurable opportunities. Reflecting back on the 2016-2017 school year, AVHS and its performing arts productions have raised the standard of excellence once again.

At AVHS, the arts program has been the host for countless aspiring artists, actors, dancers, singers and musicians. Apple Valley is known throughout the state for its exemplification of the Triple A philosophy: arts, athletics, and academics. Where it shines brightest is arguably in the arts.

AVHS Tech Crew assembling the stage for Broadway, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”

Throughout the school year, AVHS performs a large number of events in its theatre. These include three mass band concerts, one play production, a one act play, one musical production, two dance shows, four choir concerts, and the Broadway medley of music. Band and choir also host numerous smaller concerts for all ensembles and the band can be found performing at all sporting events. Each production follows a particular theme and evolves from the previous show.

AVHS offers 3 year-long band ensembles that students may participate in. Concert Band is a band where all freshmen students are initially placed unless they are selected to perform in one of the higher level bands. The upperclassmen are placed in the remaining two bands through auditions: Symphonic Band, or Wind Ensemble. The bands are directed by Mr. David Scalise and Mr. Corey Desens and they have upheld the tradition of keeping the bands among the elite. The bands perform together in three mass productions in the fall, winter, and spring. On Thursday, May 25th, the three bands will be performing their final mass concert of the year. Awards will be given to the exceptional musicians and the seniors will say a final goodbye to the program before they play “School’s Out” during the graduation ceremony.  

Though the various bands act as full year courses, many students also choose to partake in the extracurricular ensembles that perform multiple times throughout the year. These include: Percussion Ensemble, Heavy Metal, Flute Ensemble, R&B, and two Jazz bands. In addition to attending a period of band during the school day, these students stay after school to perfect their art. They perform concerts separate from the mass bands, but often in collaboration with other high schools or Valley Middle School.

AVHS Jazz 1 Band Students

The R&B is the youngest ensemble and began in the Spring 2016 and has instantly become a hit around the school and district as they continue to perform for large audiences. R&B is the only reoccurring ensemble in which members of the choir and band come together to perform. Though the R&B band is becoming increasing popular, the Jazz bands of AVHS have remained the reigning powerhouses of the extracurricular ensembles. The bands, Jazz 1 and Jazz 2, perform many times throughout the year for audiences and compete against other schools’ jazz bands in statewide competitions, often ranking among the top schools.

AVHS Seniors of VSC

The AVHS choirs are directed by Mr. Bill Blatzheim, Mr. Joel Beyer, and Mrs. Amy Jo Cherner. Similar to the band program, the choirs are recognized statewide, leaving the largest impression is the Valley Select Chorale. The Valley Select Chorale makes frequent state music organization conventions and performs in the annual ISD 196 Dakota Valley Festival.

All freshmen women are enrolled in Choraliers and freshmen men in Troubadours. A non-auditioned womens choir and non-auditioned mens choir are available to all singers in grades 10-12. Ragazze Cantanti for women and Ragazzo Cantanti for men. Valley Select Chorale (VSC) is open to both men and women but students who seek to perform in VSC must undergo an audition.

Members of choirs at AVHS participate in many performances throughout the school year: the Fall Concert, Holiday Concert, Masterworks Concert and a Spring Pops Concert. In addition each ensemble participates in a festival with other choirs from Minnesota.

Jazz 1 Singers of AVHS

In the same case as Apple Valley’s band program, AVHS offers a wide variety of co-curricular choir groups. Varsity Edition is a mixed chamber choir offering for singers in grades 9 and 10. Chamber Singers is comprised of singers in grades 11 and 12. Jazz Singers is open to all singers in grades 10-12. Mens Ensemble and Womens Ensemble round out the co-curricular choral offering at Apple Valley High School. Co-curricular ensembles perform at all AVHS seasonal concerts, the ISD 196 solo and ensemble contest and holiday caroling. Jazz Singers also serve as the core group of singers for the annual AVHS Broadway show.

As musicians utilize sound to express themselves, dancers focus on the physicality and grace of their movements to express emotion. Similar to the band and choir programs, AVHS offers dance classes available to all students who seek to perform. The classes cover everything from jazz to electronic beat. Twice a year, the dance students come together regardless of the class they are enrolled in to perform in the fall and spring. AVHS Danceworks have made their final performances this past weekend in the theater in its final farewell to the graduating seniors before welcoming the incoming freshmen. The theme  “Time After Time” alludes to the many eras represented in the piece from 20’s jazz to 90’s hip hop. No matter the era the dancers choose to represent, they uphold Apple Valley pride.

Fall Performance of “The 25th Annual Puntam County Spelling Bee”

Students who do not dance or play an instrument may still find themselves on the stage through Apple Valley’s drama club. The drama club performs three times a year, yet unlike other activities, the magic happens after school hours.  This previous fall, AVHS students organized the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” which is a long one act musical centered around a fictional Spelling Bee at the Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Spelling Bee, which is run by three equally quirky grown-ups. In the winter, students had the opportunity to perform in the one act play, “Big Love”. It’s an adaptation of the play “The Suppliants” by Aeschylus. The plot follows fifty brides fleeing to a manor in Italy to avoid marrying their fifty cousins. The one act play is relatively short, which is why the spring performance was an adaptation of classical pieces performed by AVHS students. The drama club concluded the year with a modern version of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in the spring. It keeps the classical dialogue but updates the scenery and costumes to great effect. “Twelfth Night” is a classic Shakespearean comedy about a lonesome kingdom, some ambitious noblemen, and a love triangle.

AVHS Sophmore, Uzo Ngwu performing at Broadway 2017

The most sensational performance that occurs within the theater of AVHS is the Broadway production. Students of AVHS combine every ounce of talent they possess to dance and sing across the stage as the jazz band jams out an intricately selected soundtrack. It is the one time of the year where more than 100 AVHS students are involved in the production as singers, dancers, instrumentalists and theater technicians. Broadway is performed in the middle of February in hopes of bringing audiences out of their winter blues. The theme of Broadway 2017 was “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” and featured songs such as “Airplanes” and “I Believe that I Can Fly”. It is not uncommon to find the theater reaching its maximum capacity as audiences from across the district pour in to view this remarkable performance of student artists giving it their all.

No matter the time of the school year, audiences will always be able to find excellence resting within AVHS’ theater. Time proves that the talent at AVHS and its artistic programs have yet to dull. Audiences will always be able to appreciate art in its purest forms. With regards to the arts, AVHS never leaves one disappointed.

 

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9 Months of Art