Highlights of the 2013 UCSCA Program              

Recruitment initiatives for our 2013 program continued to expand, including visits to all secondary schools in Cecil County, as well as selected schools in Harford County.  Dr. Keith Wharton also included Kent County High School.  Brochures were sent to fine arts supervisors in all 24 jurisdictions of Maryland. 

It was necessary for us to replace one teacher and two counselors for this year’s program. These individuals were exceptional staff members who contributed significantly to the program. The new staff members were able to participate in the interviews/auditions on April 13, a half-day session for counselors on June 1, and a half-day staff development for all staff on July 5.

Due to the current economy, there were quite a large number of financial assistance requests.  We were able to provide scholarships to all students who requested assistance.  Dr. Stuart Hutchinson, Principal at Elkton Middle School, provided assistance for one of his students.  Budgetary support for the program came from Cecil County Public Schools at $13,228; our Dove Valley Art Auction at $5,247; Harford County Public Schools provided $5,000; and a balance from the 2012 program in the amount of $7,737.68.

We collaborated with Young Audiences of Maryland to provide guest artists for the week:  The Sankofa Dance Theatre presented “The Village Dance;” C. A. August provided a Spoken Word presentation titled “Living Out Loud;” Kevin Gift, Pianist, presented a variety of works from “Jazz Piano Masters;” and Joseph Grasso, Stage Combat Artist, presented a session to the theatre students focusing on the art of fencing.  Each evening, students participated in performances, social events, and enrichment activities which were very well received and beautifully facilitated by the RA staff. 

The Casey Santana Butler Memorial Award and Scholarship was presented for the third year to the most outstanding UCSCA senior student.  The recipient for 2013 was Justin Taylor, a senior orchestra student at Fallston High School in Harford County.  The award was presented at the final concert on Saturday, July 13.

Our theme for the 2013 program was “Infinite Tangible Possibilities.”  Students were able to reach for the infinite possibilities in each of the artistic areas--synthesizing with colleagues in other arts disciplines to demonstrate their creative ingenuity in developing original works of art.  This process was utilized in both the discipline focus and creativity classes.

Our final presentations were well received and very gratifying for students, alumni, and parents.

Instructional Discipline Reports         

Chorus Summary – Mr. Jeffrey Winfield, Teacher

The music literacy of the choral music students was challenged through repertoire from various styles of music including American Folk Songs, Gospel, and Contemporary. Students were quick to learn and fine tune the appropriate stylistic features necessary for a more authentic performance and representation of the musical styles.

This year was a particular challenge as student grade levels ranged from entering grades 7 through 12.  Obviously, not all students arrived with the same set of vocal and musicianship tools, but they were able to work together to produce a mature, refined tone that was truly impressive to hear!  Each vocalist brought their own set of skills and built on them.  By the end of the week, they were brought to a new level that will hopefully be shared with their musical peers in the new school year!

We also had a great time exploring individual voices in the afternoon session as students worked on the repertoire for the recital prior to the finale.  They were encouraged to develop memorization strategies and greater stage presence as they were pushed to maximize the use of their healthy vocal skills while singing a wide range of musical styles.  If a student was not comfortable singing a solo, they worked on their choir repertoire or, in some cases, with another student as they worked on their solo, further encouraging collaboration—another skill to take home to their schools.

The Grand Finale to this amazing week was a testament to their passion for the arts.  The emotional maturity of the students peaked as they displayed levels of musical expression that spoke highly to their understanding of “Anything is possible…watch a dream come true!”

Dance Summary – Mrs. Danielle Strange, Teacher

The curriculum for the 2013 UCSCA summer program in dance was developed based on a variety of techniques and genres of dance.  The focus this year was to challenge the students in all forms of dance as well as to develop their choreographic skills.

The students were given a rigorous technique class each morning in ballet or modern.  They spent each afternoon studying various aspects of dance, such as jazz, choreography, and movement improvisation.  Throughout the week, the students had the opportunity to learn three works of choreography of differing styles.  Each style allowed the students to explore the history of that style as well as the technical aspects of the movements.

The final performance was the culminating event to an excellent week.  The students had the opportunity to perform some of their individual choreography in a pre-show informal performance.  This then led right into the formal performance.  This year the students performed three different technique styles. The first piece was a contemporary ballet work that displayed their ballet technique to “One Hand, One Heart” by Leonard Bernstein.  This was followed by a fast-paced piece that showcased their modern technique learned throughout the week entitled “Fire.”  The last performance of the day was “Collision,” which was the students’ favorite piece this year in the dance program.  This piece showed a battle of two techniques in dance and how ballet and hip-hop can be intertwined.

Each student made tremendous improvement throughout the week with their technique as well as their choreography skills.  They grew to be well-rounded dancers and were motivated to continue dancing throughout the year.

Digital Arts Summary – Mr. Shane Brill, Teacher

Digital Arts students had an intensive week discussing their role as digital artists and cultivating tactical skills as a means of expressing ideas relating to cultural awareness.  Students began the week by focusing on DSLR photography and learning how to batch process hundreds of images using Adobe Bridge.  Using photos that they took, the class explored tools for portrait enhancements using Adobe Photoshop.  They quickly gained proficiency in the breadth of basic Photoshop functionality and followed examples leading to advanced image adjustments using combinations of masking, compositing, and filters.

The class segued to digital storytelling by working on a series of collaborative stop-motion films through which they explored visual and narrative expression of abstract ideas.  After processing the images using Bridge and retouching in Photoshop, the students imported their photo narratives into Final Cut Pro and eased into the video editing platform.  Once acquainted with Final Cut Pro, they worked in groups to create short films in a constrained amount of time to encourage swift creative collaboration.  The exercise introduced them to the flow of a larger collaborative production:  a three-minute short feature that dealt with one of the complex social topics they had been unpacking throughout the week.

Following the video production that brought all of their ideas together, the students revisited their Photoshop skills to create posters either illustrating the film or their experience at UCSCA.  During a discussion to close the final class, the students remarked that while they appreciated the concentrated time to work with equipment and software, they were surprised by how their vision of themselves as artists had matured over the course of the program.

Literary Arts Summary – Ms. Laura Childs, Teacher

During their week attending the Literary Arts program at UCSCA, students completed writing in multiple genres all under the lens of observation.  Students were asked to observe themselves and each other as writers in order to figure out their individual writing styles.  After they identified the literary elements that defined their own writer's voice, they observed and analyzed the writing styles of famous authors, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Wordsworth, Frost, Poe, Wilde, and Emmerson, as well as contemporary poets, such as Sarah Kay, Taylor Mali, and Marshall Davis.  Students were asked to model the styles of these famous authors in order to complete certain projects, such as a place description, a character description, nature journaling, gathas, tankas, spoken word poetry, recycled poetry, "When I'm Old" and "Where I'm from Poetry," black-out poetry, and genre-specific short stories.

Students were also asked to complete two projects that asked them to think critically and creatively about voice, point of view, and perspective when writing.  They completed the "Box" project and the "Mascot" project.  Students were asked to create a box that defined them as a writer and ultimately a person.  They showcased how society viewed them, how their teachers viewed them, how their parents viewed them, how their friends viewed them, and, ultimately inside of the box, they displayed how they viewed themselves.  Students were asked to observe how these boxes grew and developed through the course of the week.  By the last day, their task was to read the writings both inside and outside of the box and to be able to determine whose writer's voice and point of view that box was displaying.  Finally, students took one of the four mascots with them for a day's journey through camp and wrote about the day in the voice and from the perspective of that mascot.  Whether Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, Batman, or Harry Potter, students were very imaginative in creating journal and diary entries in the voice of their mascots.

Orchestra Summary – Dr. Keith Wharton, Teacher

This year, the orchestral students worked on improving their intonation techniques both within their section and throughout the orchestra.  We also spent a large part of the instructional time working on 12/8 rhythms and various permutations of the rhythms, such as duplets and quad and quintuplets of the individual beat.

The orchestra creativity project had the students using a series of popular classical melodies and creating their own variation on a theme and chord structure.  Once this was accomplished, they would then place it into a 1970’s disco style.  Each selection was then placed together using a basic key signature and created a selection titled “Groovilicious.”  All selections were fully recorded by the orchestra with copies made for all students.  This allows the students the ability to reflect on their success at UCSCA.

Theatre Summary – Mrs. Leigh Catterton, Teacher

Students studied the acting theory and exercises of Jacques LeCoq.  Students studied the deconstruction of LeCoq’s theory involving masked and unmasked, voiced and unvoiced exercises.  They studied the physical acting that LeCoq’s teaching promoted through stage combat with Certified Stage Combat Director, Joe Grasso.  Instruction was complimented by the LeCoq acting strategies.  Students read, analyzed, and synthesized the literary work of Edmond Rostand’s play, Cyrano de Bergerac, which is considered a romantic genre of stylized writing.  Students participated in three different acting practice scenes over the course of the week.  All students were featured in the student showcase in either "How to Act in A Ten Minute Play" or "Us and Them."

Students performed constructed and deconstructed musical rhythms and nine scenes written by theatre teacher, Leigh Catterton, for the final UCSCA showcase.  Students engaged in roughly 40 hours of instruction in the eight-day program.

Visual Arts Summary – Dr. Camellia Blackwell, Teacher

This was my second year of teaching Visual Arts for the Upper Chesapeake Summer Arts Camp at Washington College in Chestertown, MD.  Of the 19 students in my class, ten were returning students and nine were new to the program this year.  Two students were seniors:  Afiong Onyile and Clay Prins.  Afi hopes to pursue Art Therapy as a career, combining fine arts and medicine; and Clay hopes to pursue fine arts at Delaware College of Art & Design.

There were also 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders in the class, all between the ages of 13 and 17, who showed great promise and talent in the Visual Arts.

Our first project was En Plein Air Drawing—a French term for “On Location” or outdoor drawing and painting.  Only one of the 19 students had previous experience in this genre.  All students responded well to my instructions and to the critique of their artworks in progress.  No one would know by viewing their finished drawings that this was their first time (for all but one student) in drawing landscape compositions outdoors.  They produced excellent works of art in graphite pencil medium.

The Mask Project connected art with anthropology, sociology, writing, lettering, design, sculpture, drawing, painting, and matting.  When I came to Washington College to teach this class on July 5, I brought two large plastic bags filled with recyclable plastics and paper products for the students to recycle for this project.  I also brought a box of wallpaper paste and a large stack of newspapers for the paper mache used in the construction of the mask.  The students all enjoyed this project, which consisted of drawing, designing, building, writing, and mounting the masks on poster board.  It was a great success and the results were nothing less than fantastic!

Sumie Brush Painting, also known as Oriental Brush Painting, was our third project. None of the students had experienced this medium and much practice was required after my demonstration of the techniques involved in holding and using the bamboo brush.  Nearly all of the students achieved success with this assignment.  Some students chose to do the alternative Abstract Art Design Project instead of the Sumie Brush Drawing. The abstract art project required the students to create a realistic drawing and then transform the drawing into an abstract by adding lines, shapes, and patterns to enhance the images.

All in all, every student achieved success, enjoyed the creative process, and socialized and made new friends while they created fantastic new artworks.  I wish all the students the best of success in all phases of their lives, especially art.

I also extend a special thanks to my classroom assistant, Miss Hannah Mulligan, who assisted me in the facilitation of the class.

Residential Life Summary – Ms. Shelby Underwood, Residential Life Director

The 2013 week of UCSCA was another great week at Washington College in Chestertown Maryland.  This year, we had two new counselors, Nicole Buzgierski (Vocal Music) and Cassy Galon (Digital Arts), join our wonderful team.  With the new additions came a new outlook on the week’s programs.  The encouragement and support from our returning counselors, Caroline Martin (Literary Arts), Erin Hanratty (Theatre), Rodney Davis (Instrumental Music), Daniel Combs (Dance), and Hannah Mulligan (Visual Arts) was enlightening to the students.  Some exciting activities planned by our counselors included an animation film festival, trivia night, pillowcase scavenger hunt, the highly–anticipated talent show, as well as our themed dance, which was a highlighter party.

This year’s theme, “Infinite Tangible Possibilities,” was expressed and demonstrated as the counselors lead the campers through creativity projects, as well as assisting the teaching staff in each of their respected disciplines.  Students thrived in a creative environment.  Along with dedicating themselves in their respective disciplines, they were able to interact and collaborate with students of various artistic disciplines during creativity group time.  Students worked in small groups incorporating the theme and different artistic disciplines into a unique work of art that reflected their interpretation of the theme.  The week came to a close with a wonderful presentation of the student work and presentation of the Annual Casey Santana Butler Scholarship Award.  Justin Taylor, an instrumental student at Fallston High School in Harford County, received the award.  His dedication to the program for the past five years has been demonstrated in his musicality abilities and academic accomplishments.  The performance concluded with a gala vocal, orchestral, and dance composition by the entire camp. 

During the week, various guests performed at Washington College.  Performances extended from poetry and acting to African dance.  Students were motivated, engaged, and inspired by these special performances.  During Wednesday evening, counselors hosted a Literary Night in which students performed original works expressed through poetry and song.  The week came to a close with a wonderful presentation of the students’ work throughout the week. The UCSCA program continues to be a life-changing, innovative fine arts residential program that students anticipate returning to throughout the school year.