MINT HILL – Showcasing the arts at a campus without adequate space is a challenge for leaders at Queen’s Grant High School.
But when they have a chance to borrow some space and help encourage and prepare students to embrace the excitement of performing and being on display, they try to do it right.
The first Spring Fine Arts Showcase will be no exception, Shelley Tippett, fine arts department dean at the school, said. Featuring the school’s theater, band, orchestra, dance, chorus and visual art students, the evening, which will be held April 4, a Friday, at 7 p.m. at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, is sure not to disappoint, she said.
“Because we are so small, (the showcase) is a visual example of the work we do, though we don’t have our own performance space,” Tippett said. “Being a fine arts department, (the students) need to know what performing is about. They need to experience the excitement of performing, but also the preparation that goes into it.”
Queen’s Grant High School is a tuition-free public charter school that serves students in ninth through 12th grade. The campus, located at 10323 Idlewild Road, is mostly made up of modular units. Talks of expansion have been in the works for some time, but plans are still unclear at this time. Tippett hopes those plans would include space for fine
But in the meantime, she’s thankful for the partnership with Philadelphia Presbyterian, who, for the last several years, has worked with the school to host events like the showcase. Though it’s the first year for a spring showcase – the school produced a spring musical last year but opted to showcase all disciplines this spring – a fall showcase has been in existence for the last three years.
Tippett said this year’s spring showcase will give students a chance to really show their own work, especially in terms of the dance and theater students, who will be performing student-choreographed and student-written pieces. The showcase also will include popular music from television shows and movies “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Incredibles,” “Les Miserables” and “The Pink Panther” played by the school’s band and orchestra. The school’s chorus also will perform music such as “Fireflies” by Owl City, “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, “Ubi Caritas” 11th century Gregorian chant and “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone, a show choir piece that also will include dancing.
Student work from the school’s Art 1, 2, 3 and 4, AP Studio Art and Fine Crafts classes also will be on display.
“Throughout the entire production, there is probably 150 students either performing, behind the scenes or with artwork shown,” Tippett said. That includes freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors at the school. “People look at our school and don’t see an auditorium, but we work as hard as we can to give students opportunities. It’s hard to learn a discipline based on performance, but have nowhere to perform.”
That’s why Tippett is so thankful for Philadelphia Presbyterian. While they’ve tried other venues, she said, Philadelphia Presbyterian feels like home, and hopes the partnership can continue for years to come – or at least until students have a place of their own.
The church is located at 11501 Bain School Road.