Performing arts students attend the 2021 school year Conservatory Kick-Off


Esha Gohil

Students attended the 2021 Conservatory Kick-Off on Wednesday in the Patil Theater. Multiple teachers announced upcoming events such as the Fall Play and Dance Production and new classes.

by Sally Zhu, A&E and Lifestyle Editor

Students attended the Conservatory Kick-Off for the 2021-22 school year in the Patil Theater on Wednesday, a mandatory event for students interested or involved in any performing arts at Harker. The Kick-Off consisted of dinner provided to the students and introductions by all the faculty that lead Conservatory programs or classes along with several announcements of guidelines and upcoming events. 

This year’s Dance Production theme, announced by Upper School Dance Director Karl Kuehn, is “Blast from the Past,” where songs from previous years’ productions will be reused with different choreography, including from ten student choreographers. The auditions will be on Sept. 11, and after school dance classes will start next week. 

“[The Kick-Off] was actually pretty fun, and it felt like everyone was enjoying it there,” Sonia Yu (9) said. “I’m looking forward to all the performances, the holiday tour where we go to every campus [in particular]. I think it’s going to be fun performing the holiday dances.” 

Following this, orchestra co-director Dr. David Hart and orchestra, Jazz Band, Lab Band Director and middle school instrumental music teacher Clark Brown introduced the 2021-22 Concert Series. The series will feature jazz drummer Jared Schonig on Nov. 5 and the Emerald Brass Quintet, the Daedalus Quartet and pianist Taylor Eigsti in later months. Upper school vocal music teachers Jennifer Sandusky and Susan Nace announced several new classes for this year, including Arranging and Composing and Basic Conducting. Upper School Production Manager Brian Larsen and technical theater teacher Paul Vallerga introduced this year’s technical theater classes and upcoming workshops. 

Upper school theater teacher Jeffrey Draper announced the 2021 Fall Play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” a fast-paced comedy by William Shakespeare. Auditions will be held on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and the play will be performed by two casts; the teachers are still deciding between performing the production on stage where masks need to be worn or outdoors with no masks. Harper Brada (11), a member of the theater Certificate program, anticipates the events for this year and continues to grow and learn in the program. 

“I hope that [the program] improves me as an actor, but I hope it teaches me how to improve on my own and how to identify what needs to improve, because that’s stuff you can take on forever,” Harper said. “[The program] is almost like a sports team, you just have a big old group of people.” 

Finally, Upper School Performing Arts Director Laura Lang-Ree presented the four seniors directing this year’s Student Directed Showcase performances: Richie Amarillas, Ysabel Chen, Josh Field and Saumi Mehta, with auditions the week of Oct. 11. Lang-Ree also announced the 2022 Spring Musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a Drama Desk and Tony Award winning musical. An audition workshop will be held on Saturday, with auditions being held in mid-September. 

“We’re excited to be together again and reignite that joy and passion that our students have for the arts,” Lang-Ree said. “[I’m looking forward to] everyone together, and connecting with our audiences and our staff and our student body. We can’t wait.” 

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Additional reporting by Aastha Mangla and Sabrina Zhu.