Members of the Peddie community came together on Wednesday, September 13 in Swig to listen to the unique summer experiences of 11 Peddie artists.
The Arts Signature Experience allows students to pursue their passion for music, drama and visual arts by working one-on-one with other artists during the summer. Peddie artists are encouraged to take advantage of this experience, whether it be honing their musical techniques, exploring different types of drama, or improving their artwork.
Binglun Shao ’18, one of the 11 presenters, shared her experience. As Shao reflected on her experience in the Arts Signature Program, she recognized that the most significant lesson she learned from the Arts Signature Program was “how important it is to be [her] own teacher”. Shao has been learning music since her childhood, and has overcome many struggles on the road of pursuing her violinist career.
Brooke Dennison’18 told her story about her summer experience as a performing artist as well. She spent two weeks at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts studying theatre. When asked about her experience, Dennison stated: “it was a really great and immersive experience, because I was studying theatre for 10 hours a day, and really getting to dive into topics like acting technique, and tap dancing, which I have never done before. I was definitely pushed beyond my comfort zone, which made it extremely valuable; and moving forward, my attitude, and approach towards theatre has definitely been changed because of my Arts Sig.”
Ellen Yan’20, one of the audience members, reflected that she was amazed by the diversity of projects and how the Arts Signature Program elicited personal growth of each presenter, not only as an artist, but as a person too. “Although the experiences were intense, people can definitely gain a lot of perspectives on what they are doing,” Ellen said.
When asked about Dessert night, Music Department Chair, Alan Michaels said that the presentations allow “students to articulate what they experienced over the summer. It also forces them to reflect on what they did, what they learned; and at the same time, the people who attended these get to hear what they did.”
Through the Arts Signature Program, Peddie artists have the opportunities to discover and dive into the artistic world and express themselves outside the Peddie community. “It’s really great that at the high school level, we are able to provide our students with a much deeper, more profound experience, or opportunity, to delve deeply into something that they have passion for. It also gives them a better overview because it helps them to make better choices as they move on to college and beyond.” Michaels stated.