The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

2018 in Arts

January 4, 2019

Looking back at 2018, there have been many outstanding moments for Arts and Entertainment from the Spartan Shield.

To start off the year, PV students competed in eleven different events for the District Large Group Speech. With the inspiration of the PV students participating, seven of these events advanced to the State Large Group Speech. Students were practicing from the beginning of the school year to perfect their performances. Those who did not make it were obviously disappointed, but instead of giving up they decided to keep a positive attitude and and turn this into a learning experience they can use to succeed in the future.

In February, the improv team WACIT, consisted of Odin Mcdonald, Olivia Peters, Molly Dippel, and Kaylynne Nowak. While performing at districts and state, they successfully earned a division one rating, which is the highest rating in the speech competitions. Due to their variety and diligence in practicing performance, WACIT qualifies for all-state speech competition. Also, the second performance of the year for both Concert Band and Wind Ensemble came. This was the time for students to show their improvement in band from the beginning of the year. Along with the band, the Wind Symphony and Dr. Elizabeth Matera, an amazing clarinetist in the President’s Marine band. As a member of the band for 27 years, she had played for five presidents.

As spring came around, Leading Tones participated in the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships. It was their tenth year in a row at the championships. On the same day, six students auditioned for Iowa All-state Jazz Choir. They prepared to sing three scales, a prepared audition cut, a memorized solo and sight reading. In the annual Senior Band Concert, the Wind Symphony featured three of their best musicians. The first was Claire Thompsen, the winner of the 2017 quad city Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, who played a flute solo. The other two musicians were Ethan Good and Keshav Wagle, who performed a duet accompanied by the Wind Symphony Band.

As the school year transitioned to April, the drama department acted out the show Scapino!, which is a modern version of an italian play. The cast was working on the show since the beginning of of March, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. At District Band Night, both the sixth grade through high school bands performed songs that they had practiced during the school year. The sixth graders were able to play as one large group, which gave them a chance to experience what band was like for their next year. This was also the second time this concert was hosted in the Taxslayer Center. The music department took part in the Iowa State Solo and Ensemble Festival. Pleasant Valley had 100 entries in the states band contests, and overall, the PV Vocalists received more “Best of Center” awards for for six out of seven local centers.

During the month of May, most of the spartan musicians performed at the State Large Group Festival. The outcome of rehearsing for months, and perfecting their performance, ten of the ensembles got the highest scores, Division I. The other two events earned the second highest scores, Division II. This was also the month of the PV Orchestra Program, which is the time for seniors to enjoy their last performance. Since this can become emotional for the seniors the director, Rod Swinney annually gave each graduate a self-made caricature. This year Swinney was surprised with a caricature of his own, presented by the grateful seniors. Pleasant Valley ended the 2017-2018 school year with the senior Choir concert. The Senior Choir members’ final performance, included filling the stage, and overflowing into the aisles to sing “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman.

To begin the 2018-2019 school year, dedicated musicians had started practicing for All-State Auditions in early July. Many of the participants in this event attended the Meistersinger All-State Camp at Wartburg College to practice their music. Marching Band also started practicing their skills during the summer. This also helped the incoming freshman practice marching in the field while playing their instruments. Some students in band wanted to participate in drumline spent their summer to go to the Cyclone Percussion Academy. They spent their time practicing and perfecting cadences to be ready for the football season and school assembles.

In the month of October, the improv teams put together a show for the annual improv night. Along with Hatrick and WACIT,  a new group called Kakistocracy was created. After an enjoyable performance this fall, Hatrick was announced the winner. This month was also Senior Night for the Marching Band. Since this was the last time seniors performed in marching band, they performed in halloween costumes while the underclassmen wore their uniforms. Along with the chance to dress up, the seniors planned out the drills and the music. Even though these students had only one week to prepare, they had a great time performing.

At the close of 2018, the drama department put together the one-act children’s play, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” This happens every year, but this year was unique because they decided to travel to several children’s hospitals in the area to spread happiness and hope to the kids who needed it.

As Pleasant Valley is wrapping up the year 2018, we are eager to see what 2019 has in store for our talented art students.

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