Spring Arts Weekend 2024

Perennially, as it also is at many other schools across the country, the springtime at VA is a whirlwind. The school year revs up before it winds down as students anticipate parting ways for the summer, working to finish up their studies, playing hard at final games and matches, and putting their creative energies towards plays, performances, artwork, and more. Spring Arts Weekend serves as a moment for our community to pause, breathe, and look around at all of the beautiful work the community has generated this past trimester. The culminating artistic event of the year ran from Saturday, May 4 through Tuesday, May 7.
Saturday’s events were kicked off in the morning and continued into the afternoon with Grandparents and Special Friends Day as student musicians performed live in Shepardson Dining Center during lunch. It was a shining example of togetherness in the presence of art. In the evening, the Honors Advanced Art Show opened across several locations throughout campus. In Horowitz Performing Arts Hall, Sofia Bianconi ’24, Tony Gao ’24, Mac Knisley ’24, Abby Mellen ’24, Dane Mulverhill ’24, and Bowen Xiao ’24 showcased a wide array of mediums and art styles. The works of Cole Allen ’24, Khiêm Nguyen ’24, and Sydney Palmiotto ’24 accented Leavitt House, complementing both indoor and outdoor spaces. Pinky Rasmussen ’24’s pieces were exhibited in the Michael Choukas Skating Rink. Their works will be on display in their respective locations through May 17.

Music and interactive art brought us together and the rain brought us inside Shepardson Dining Center for a double feature on Sunday: “The Early Risers” featuring Vocal Ensemble Instructor Ashley Storrow, and “Bella and the Maybe Brothers.” The audience also got to make their own music on a kinetic sculpture dreamed up by local sculptor Mark Ragonese and VA students. The two pieces of the sculpture resembled large wind chimes, with copper pipes hung within two oblong wood frames. When struck, the pipes generate hollow, calming sounds. It will be on display in a natural location on our campus soon. To complement the musical features, VA student volunteers ran arts and crafts tables, which children visiting from Kurn Hattin Homes for Children especially took a liking to. Sunday’s events were generously supported by The Bob '37 and Beth Campbell Endowment Fund for the Visual Arts and Lecture Series.

The music continued on Monday, beginning with a Spring Music Lesson Recital in the Nita Choukas Theater in Horowitz Performing Arts Hall in the afternoon. The evening rolled into an Advanced Music Presentation from Zoe Jacobs ’24, a senior music student who has been working on writing, producing, and laying vocals on her own EP, (a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record) with her Advanced Music teacher and VA’s Performing Arts Chair Steve Cady.

The finale of our days celebrating the arts was the Spring Music Concert, held in the Nita Choukas Theater on Tuesday at 7:30 pm after Formal Meal. The performances did not disappoint, which is customary for the VA performing arts department, especially after an entire year of hard work. 

Ashley Storrow led students in VA’s Vocal Ensemble with three beautiful spring-like songs: Mamuse’s Hallelujah, Put a Little Love in Your Heart (w/ Love Train) arranged by Greg Gilpin, and Parting Glass, A Celtic Farewell arranged by The Wailin’ Jennys. The beauty of the Chamber and Jazz Ensembles songs followed suit, performing tunes such as Nocturne - A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn, Just the Two of Us by Bill Withers, and Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. Student soloists and small groups also performed various numbers, including an ensemble comprised of seniors who had bittersweet moments giving their final musical performances at VA. 

The night also saw several originally composed or written “world premiere” performances from Luke Pennell ’26, Asper Donath ’26, and Zoe Jacobs ’24. A few students even performed using instruments they had never played before the VA audience before, including their voices!

In nature, spring is the time of year when, after hibernation, beautiful creatures and plants emerge. Like the flora and fauna, the talents of our community shine in spring. The 2024 Spring Arts Weekend was a true showing of that! Find photos of the events on our Flickr page.
Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.