Northwood’s 2nd annual Arts Extravaganza was held May 2 and involved arts students from Northwood and its feeder schools, including Moncure, Pollard, Horton, Pittsboro Elementary, North Chatham and Perry Harrison Schools. The night began at 6:30 p.m. with an “art walk,” which showcased paintings, collages and drawings made by elementary, middle and high school students. Performing arts, including singing, dancing, theatre and band, were showcased afterward.
Northwood’s theatre teacher Kayla Gahagen gave her opinion of the extravaganza.
“It’s interesting to see elementary schools singing, middle schools singing and then high schools singing, and see the progression. [The Arts Extravaganza] is really just to showcase and give the community a chance to see all that’s in their area at one time,” Gahagen said.
At 7:00 p.m., visitors entered the auditorium to view the musical and theatrical portion of the event. Short performances included the North Chatham and Perry Harrison student choirs. Pollard and Moncure bands also presented.
Northwood’s contributions to the evening included the Jazz Band and “Pitch Please,” the student-led a capella group. The Acting II ensemble presented a skit as well.
Art teacher Leslie Burwell called the arts extravaganza a “huge success” and estimated that roughly 600 people attended the event.
“I think the people that attended were amazed by the wide variety of talent we have in our county,” Burwell said.
Gahagen believed that the Arts Extravaganza was most beneficial for the students.
“I think the students who do not usually get a chance to have an audience [benefit the most] at Northwood. It is always a great opportunity for them to get out and show what they have.”
Dance teacher Kristen Norwood saw the potential for younger students to get excited about the arts.
“I remember how I was feeling when I was getting ready to transition from middle to high school. It’s really nerve-racking and scary, and now that we have [the arts extravaganza] I feel like [middle schoolers] who are interested in [the arts] see that ‘Oh, it is still fun, and it is still exciting to do once you get to high school,” Norwood said.
Some students expected to see a segment of the musical “Hairspray” at the extravaganza, but because of copyright laws that was not possible.
Burwell is happy with the amount of visibility the visual art portion of the extravaganza received, but she had one suggestion for change.
“Our school is not made for us to have art displays hung and so if I could change anything, it would be [to give] art displays permanent residence so that, when we have these events, the artwork can remain and people can enjoy it for longer than an afternoon,” Burwell said.
Norwood directed the dance portion of the show and also reflected on the audience size. Like most, she had anxiety before the performance.
“I’m always surprised by the large turnout at every show,” Norwood said. “I have this fear in the back of my mind that we’ve done all this work and all this preparation and no one’s going to show up. It’s really great to feel supported.”
— By Adrianne Cleven, Rachel Sipe and Skyler Waugh