Thursday, 21 March 2013 10:16

PRSD trustees schooled in division’s musical history

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Krista Getcher, a student at Eagle Butte High School, performed for the Prairie Rose School Division trustees at the March 12 regular meeting. Krista Getcher, a student at Eagle Butte High School, performed for the Prairie Rose School Division trustees at the March 12 regular meeting. Photo submitted by Prairie Rose School Division

Trustees with Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) were treated to some musical entertainment at the March 12 regular board meeting.

It was part of a presentation by Dennis Orr, who sits on the committee organizing the annual Kaleidoscope of the Arts event. He brought along student Krista Getcher, from Eagle Butte High School, who played piano and sang for the trustees.
This will be the sixth year for the fine arts festival, set to take place June 1 this year at the Esplanade in Medicine Hat. Students from across the division will showcase their skills in music, art, drama, digital media and dance.
Orr was part of the original group of people who organized the first event.
“We’ve come quite a ways from when we sent out the email to staff asking if they were interested in a fine arts festival,” said Superintendent Doug Nicholls, who has also been a supporter of the event since its inception.
Orr said he first heard of the idea of a music festival when he was a teacher at Seven Persons School. A fellow colleague, Dave Blemings, was telling him about how the division used to have a music festival and it would be nice to see it operating again.
Orr was also dealing with students who weren’t particularly interested in the traditional concert band.
He shifted band from being composed mainly of traditional instruments like clarinet and flute, to guitar and drums.
“Concert band didn’t really seem appropriate for a small school so we went into another direction.”
The only opportunity for these guitar-playing students to show their skills was to enter the Kiwanis music festival.
“After I had put the 20th student through, the organizer said he didn’t know if we really fit,” said Orr. “We started talking about maybe we needed something of our own.”
Those talks turned into Kaleidoscope which has grown to feature more than just music.
“I think we’ve been fairly successful since then,” added Orr.
He pointed out how important fine arts are to a person’s education. Orr said Aristotle would state if he had only one thing he could teach it would be fine arts.
“All the disciplines required for learning are found in the fine arts,” added Orr. That includes the concentration and co-ordination that is learned from the ability to read music.
“Music is about reacting, memorization and learning to interpret. We definitely need always within education to be balanced. The Greeks’ concept was we should be academic; we should be athletic and we should have creative skills — the fine arts.”
Orr is currently teaching in Burdett  School and because of the large number of Low-German Mennonite students was unsure how responsivethey would be to music lessons.
“I’m delighted they love it. They are embracing it in ways I’ve never seen at other schools.”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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