Tickets for Hamilton may be nearly impossible to come by, but parents and friends can get a taste of the Broadway smash hit at 6 p.m. Thursday, thanks to the talent of students from Lexington County School District One.
The showcase, featuring music, dance and visual arts, is the culmination of a week of arts-focused summer camps at the Lexington District One Performing Arts Center at Lexington High School. For the second year, art teachers from around the district led sessions for high-school students who are alumni of the Tri-District Arts Consortium (Tri-DAC).
Tri-DAC was formed in 1985 by Lexington County School District One, Lexington-Richland School District Five and Richland School District Two to serve artistically gifted and talented middle-school students.
Making the arts available to students, even during summer break, is a top priority for the district, according to Kelli Rooks, Lexington District One fine arts lead teacher. “It keeps them connected to what they’ve learned and gives them time to focus only on their art,” she said.
Centered on the theme of patriotism, this summer’s Tri-DAC Alumni Intensive has lived up to its name. Students received extra instruction and rehearsal times in band, orchestra, chorus, visual arts and creative writing starting Monday and must be ready to perform or showcase their work Thursday for family and friends.
Music students are practicing to perform the score from the blockbuster film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, composed by Academy Award-winner John Williams, while visual arts students have created sculptures depicting what patriotism means to them.
Lexington District One also offered a brand-new arts camp, “Spark,” for middle-school students this week. Students who were recommended by parents or teachers as possible Tri-DAC participants are enjoying dance and theater classes during Spark. “We wanted to spark their enthusiasm for the arts,” Rooks said.
Lori McKelvey, a Pleasant Hill Middle drama teacher, and Brandi Owensby, a theater teacher from White Knoll High, are leading the middle school drama experience. After auditions, they jumped in with choreography and rehearsed the opening number from Hamilton with the students on Wednesday.
The group of about 40 rising stars will perform the number at Thursday’s showcase. Helping out as a Spark mentor and lead actor is Adam Arsi, a rising senior at Gilbert High and Tri-DAC alumnus. Arsi taught sessions on improv and monologues, and he said he’s aiming to be a positive influence on the younger students. Arsi admitted taking on a challenging and popular musical like Hamilton is indeed ambitious. “But it’s such a good show to teach the students about,” he said. “It inspires people to like history more.”
“Art helps students grow their imaginations and interpret things deeper,” Rooks agreed. The Tri-DAC Alumni Intensive and Spark Showcase is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Lexington District One Performing Arts Center at Lexington High School at 2463 Augusta Highway at 6 p.m. Click here to learn more about fine arts in Lexington District One.