Arts take center stage


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Eagle River choir members Brooke Campbell, Linnea Deisher and Gini Collins perform during Eagle River’s “Cabaret Night” on April 13.

MATT TUNSETH

 A year's worth of artistic effort went on display April 13 at Eagle River High.

That’s when the school’s fine arts department held its annual “Cabaret Night,” a celebration of the best creations and performances that art teacher Jacob Bera said is the highlight of his school year. “It’s the thing I look forward to each year,” Bera told a standing-room-only crowd packed into the school’s multi-purpose room. 

Following his opening remarks, Bera presented a slide show of some of the best art projects — from photography to painting — created by ERHS students this year. After the slide show, a parade of Eagle River performers took turns entertaining the audience with their various skills. From jazz band to improv comedy, from choir to fashion, students’ passions were the center of attention all evening long.

Before the school’s jazz ensemble took the stage, band director George Pierce said the group’s polished sound was the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and dedication. 

“These guys rehearse at 6:30 in the morning,” Pierce said. “Which I hate — until I hear them.” 

In some cases, the artwork on display was the result of several years worth of work. Fashion designer Lindsay Johnson, a senior, said she began sewing as a freshman in Oregon, and continued designing clothing in the Eagle River fine arts department. About a dozen of Johnson’s classmates strutted their stuff during a fashion show of her work. After watching the show, Johnson credited ERHS fine arts with helping her have the freedom to realize her dream of becoming a designer. 

“It’s really been a learning experience for both me and Mr. Bera,” Johnson said. 

While Bera’s background isn’t in design, Johnson said the fine arts chair influenced her designs by making suggestions as to how her work can incorporate artistic elements from different disciplines. 

“He’s definitely helped me,” Johnson said. “I think more than he knows.”

Johnson said she plans to study fashion merchandising at Central Washington University, and would one day like to take the lessons she’s learned in the ERHS fine arts department into a career in the field. 

“I know it’s a very difficult business to break into, but it’s what I hope to do,” she said.

Bera said he looks forward to the event so much because it allows the school’s musicians, artists and performers a chance to show off the skills they’ve been developing while in the program.  

“This is our chance to show what we do each and every day in our classes,” Bera said. 

 

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

 

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