Art & Soul benefit raised money to support Cody’s fine arts programs

An intimate crowd of supporters was entertained during H. J. Cody High School’s fourth annual Art & Soul Benefit, June 10.

A display of artwork by students of H. J. Cody High School was admired by those who attended the Art & Soul benefit concert June 10.

An intimate crowd of supporters was entertained during H. J. Cody High School’s fourth annual Art & Soul Benefit, June 10.

The concert, which also included a silent and live auction, raised money to “support the development of young artists in our community and our school. We aim to give our students opportunities to grow personally through the exploration of the Fine Arts.”

Money raised is also used to give students who need a little help some assistance to attend band and drama trips.

Next spring the school’s band and choir are travelling to Disneyland to participate in Disney Magic Music Days. Both groups will perform 30 minute sets in Disneyland as well as participate in workshops with professional staff. Kerry Heisler said they make the trip every four years.

Silhouettes of places students have visited on trips – New York, Vancouver, Seattle and Disneyland – were displayed behind the musicians who performed the concert.

This year the drama class hosted the Zone 4 One Act Festival where five schools competed with 22 plays. H.J. Cody students offered four pieces directed by Grade 12 students and were honoured with several awards. The play Savage Love was chosen to perform at the provincial festival and won Best Ensemble and Best Choral Speech awards.

The school’s visual arts program offers an exploration of art through a variety of media including oil, water colour and acrylic paint, sculpture, charcoal, pencil and pastel, print making, 2D and 3D works, art history, set design and painting, and public art shows. A variety of student work was displayed during the concert.

The concert headliner was Randi Boulton, a Central Alberta singer and songwriter who is currently recording an album with Juno award winning producer Russell Broom. It’s scheduled for release in October at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre.

Tir Na Nog band members Brian Volke, Christie Simmons and Shawn Kingston brought their brand of Celtic eclectic folk rock fusion to the stage.

Performing as well were teachers Kerry Heisler and Jacqui Renwick.

During the afternoon three students talked about their experiences with the school’s fine arts programs, occasionally becoming emotional and shedding a few tears with their words of gratitude.

Taylor Solberg has been an actress and director in her exploration of drama. She’s also involved in band, choir and as an artist.

“Drama was always something to fall back on,” she said. “It’s one of the things that kept me from going crazy.”

Her work in art class, she described as a time to “slow down, make myself focus”.

Sloane Davis asked herself, “What would life be like without the music department?” Then she answered, “Life would be a horrible place.”

Music has always been a part of her life, she explained, adding her “talents in these areas were not just embraced but celebrated – Music is the best thing I’ve had in my life.” She also appreciated going to “amazing places” like Seattle, Vancouver and Disneyland.

“Going to music was one reason that kept me happy and willing to go to school every year,” she said. “I can’t even imagine a world without music classes, teachers who dedicate a ridiculous amount of time to their students. I love my time here at H. J. Cody, being part of the music experience. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Kayla Seifert was the third student to speak. She’s been in band, choir and theatre.

Speaking about her experiences with drama, she described every production as “fun and interesting”.

“You have to be confident, strong, take on copious amounts of stress,” she said. “I’m not a person who’s afraid to be herself anymore.”

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