A collaboration between ClancyWorks Dance Company and the Carver Center dance department is the genesis of the annual guest artist residency in which students take master classes taught by one of the ClancyWorks Dance Company members or Adrienne Clancy, the company artists director. Ms. Clancy teaches master classes at Carver Center, as well as sets a work to be performed not only at the Carver Spring Dance Concert but also on the concert program along with the ClancyWorks Dance Company this spring at Theater Projecth. The dance department in partnership with Barb Wirsing, the Education Director for the Hippodrome Foundation, has developed a platform for students to begin to discover the multiple ways that they will think, act, speak, and move as a professional dancer. This on-going relationship is built around the principle of exposing dance students to a variety of theatrical aspects that they might encounter within the field of dance. The focus is on career-ready skills through mock audition processes, meet-the-artist conversations from current productions at the Hippodrome, and back-stage tours of the Hippodrome. The Dance Prime continues to produce two to three guest artist residency series each academic year. The guest artist series provides students with the opportunity to work closely with a member of the professional dance community through participation in master classes, discussions, and rehearsal processes. Guest artists include Todd Rosenlieb, Adrienne Clancy, Linda Garofalo, Kathy Brenner Lasekow, Scott Putman, Matthew Rushing, Darrell Grand Moultire, and an alumna of the Carver Center Dance Prime. These artists-in-residence teach one to two week master classes to all levels of dance students, as well as set a new or established work on the senior class to be presented in the spring of each academic year. The students gain valuable information, are challenged in ways that are on par with professional companies, including extended school day rehearsals, and held accountable for the art work that is created on them in the rehearsal process. The senior year culminates in a New York City trip to observe Broadway shows and take classes at various NYC studios, including Dance New Amsterdam, Paul Taylor Dance Studio, Steps, and Broadway Dance Center. Outreach projects that dance students participate in include pre-audition workshops for perspective Carver Center students; a “Dance Day” of classes for young aspiring dancers; and the Carver Center Celebration, an annual fundraising event that showcases students’ creative energies in all the arts. Many of the dance faculty participate annually in the Dance Educators Training Institute, a week-long training institute in which participants take daily technique classes and then work collaboratively in a series of afternoon workshops tailored to the needs of the teaching artists in attendance. Both Glenna Blessing and Stephanie Powell present annually at this institute. The dance faculty are also members of numerous professional organizations, including International Association of Blacks in Dance, International Dance Medicine Association, and National Dance Education Organization. Faculty have presented professionally at conferences, including AAPHERD, IADMS, NDEO, IABID, and Magnet Schools of America Summer Institute, among others. The dance students perform with local companies in various productions from The Nutcracker to the A.I.R.S. benefit concert. Each year students attend the National and Regional High School Dance Festival, Baltimore County Study Choreography Showcase, Maryland State High School Dance Showcase, Morgan State Dance Festival, and Maryland Alliance for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance Annual State Conference, as well as other festivals, participating in master classes taught by renowned faculty, participating in adjudicated concerts, and auditioning for college scholarships.
Over the years, the Information Technology students have participated in a variety of activities and have collaborated with a variety of groups. The collaborations and activities vary from year to year depending on student interests and developments in technology. IT students once collaborated with students in Literary Arts to create an interactive story. The Literary Arts students wrote stories and the IT students programmed the stories by incorporating games into them. Students also collaborated with students in Vocal Music to create an interactive keyboard app which used the voices of the Vocal Music students as the keys on the keyboard. IT students have also collaborated with students from other schools. Students collaborated with art students from Western School of Technology to create games. Carver Center students designed and programmed the games while Western students created the artwork. Information about the games was shared through a wiki. Students visited the Virtual Learning Laboratory at Chesapeake High School to learn about educational games. These students then programmed an educational game that was conceived by a student from the University of Baltimore. Field experiences are also an integral part of the program. Students have attended a Microsoft-sponsored workshop to learn about developing apps for Windows phones. Students then used this knowledge to develop an app. Students also visited the National Security Agency to learn about cyber security and potential careers in that field. Students participate in a variety of game and programming contests through Project LIVE, Future Business Leaders of America, the University of Maryland, the Community College of Baltimore County, among others.
Young writers at Carver Center benefit from the exuberance and expertise of professional writers. Students at every level work closely with visiting playwrights, historians, authors, journalists, and poets. Literary Arts seniors create plays which are performed at the Vagabond Theatre in Baltimore. Senior students also write and publish books of every genre—fiction, poetry, short story, nonfiction, memoir, among others. Student authors collaborate with local book store owners for signings and readings. In addition, seniors’ books are available for purchase on Amazon. Poetry students collaborate with dance prime students to write poetry and create corresponding choreography for public performance. Students also sponsor a countywide writing competition for BCPS middle school students, as well as tutor local middle school students who find writing and reading a challenge. Literary Arts students produce a unique and artistic school newspaper four times per year and a literary magazine chock-full of original, student-produced fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. Synergy members host four coffeehouse events per year and hone their skills both as readers and performers.
Invaluable components to the visual arts education are fieldtrips to New York studios of professional artists, as well as to prominent art museums in surrounding states. These same professional artists, and many more from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, are brought in to critique sophomore and junior works. The summer study abroad program in Italy through MICA helps students develop an understanding of how culture informs art and art informs culture. Upon return to Baltimore, students produce their own gallery show of original art inspired and created while abroad. The visual arts students visit numerous museums annually to view vast collections of art from throughout the world, specifically to learn about the depth and breadth of diverse civilizations. Connections that students make between these field trip experiences and the creation of their own art is often immediate and results in the development of new work that is displayed in gallery shows each semester. It also results in work that is submitted for youngARTS, Scholastics, the 2010 Towson Chamber of Commerce window art project, Towson Arts Collective, Art Night at the BMA, Reginald F. Lewis Museum and the annual shows at Goucher College and the BMA. Community connections in digital filmmaking include participating in workshops, such as David Yager’s Young Filmmakers workshop and the NYC film workshop. Students, when producing original films each year, connect with the community by posting audition notices on the internet and holding film auditions for actors from the community. Digital Art students partnered with Oxfordshire, England and schools in Europe, Uganda, Hong Kong, Bali, Tokyo and Beijing, through the use of technology, on “MY…”, an exhibition at the Modern Art Oxford gallery. Connections with colleges also results in student teachers from MICA’s MAT program, graduate students and college faculty assistants for auditions and portfolio reviews, and scholarships for students to attend study abroad programs such as those at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and MICA.
Theatre students benefit from local college adjudicators and master classes on acting and audition techniques provided by professionals in the field. Students intern with the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival; the Education Channel; and, the Young Critics Program at The Hippodrome Theatre. Additional learning opportunities are provided to students who act in original films created especially for the Baltimore County Public Schools. For example, BusSTOP, a short film on bullying and character education that won both a 2008 EMMY Award and CINE Eagle National Film Award Writer/Director for Feature Educational Short Film was a collaboration between Carver Center actors and the Education Channel. There are a many guest artists from the Baltimore arts community who are regulars in the theatre program: Lewis Shaw, Sarah Anne Austin, Dara Weinberg, Kevin McAllister, Cynthia Saffron, Franklin Anthony, Rosiland Cauthen, Joseph Ritsch, Michelle Minnick, Dr. Alan Kreizenbeck, Eric Anthony, Bruce Nelson, Lynn Joslin, Lisa Sanderoff , John Suchee, Andrew Haag, and Aaron Haag as well as visiting casts and crews such as the cast of Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line, and The Lion King. In addition, connections with local theatre groups provide students with authentic learning experiences, and often result in internship and performance opportunities. Students are showcased in events at local professional theatres, including Center Stage, The Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Company, Baltimore Comedy Factory, and at community theatres. Carver Center acting and design and production students attend summer workshops at Everyman, CENTERSTAGE, Spotlighters, Hippodrome, Single Carrot, and Columbia Center for the Arts.
Guest artists, such as Dr. Donald Miller from the Groningen Voice Research Lab in the Netherlands, who is one of the world’s foremost authorities on singing resonance, visit to teach specific lessons. Carver Center’s students perform in numerous shows throughout the community, such as Winters Lane Productions at Catonsville Community College, Cockpit In Court at Essex Community College, The Children’s Playhouse of Maryland, Peabody Children’s Chorus, Liberty Showcase, The Handel Children’s Chorus, The Children’s Chorus of Maryland, and The Maryland State Boys’ Choir. Vocal music students also perform in local single-gender high schools’ musical theatre productions: male vocal music students perform in all-girls schools’ shows and female vocal music students perform in all-boys schools’ shows. Further community connections are forged when students perform for the Baltimore County Executive’s Veteran’s Day festivities and Winter Holiday Celebration, as well as for nursing homes and community organizations such as the Towson Women’s Club. Beyond the school day, vocal music students attend recitals, operas, and shows at Peabody Conservatory and Towson University, and dress rehearsals of the three operas of the Lyric Opera Baltimore season. Two voice teachers from Towson University teach master classes for the Opera/Musical Theatre class. The vocal music faculty also collaborates professionally throughout the area. Dr. Evan Walker will be performing the role of Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte, Act II) at Goucher College this April. He appears as an oratorio soloist this year at Calvary United Methodist (Annapolis), Ascension Episcopal (Westminster), and All Saints’ Episcopal (Reisterstown.) Other performances this year include the Friday Morning Music Club, Washington, D.C., and an all-French recital for the Carver Center French Club. Dr. Walker continues to study regularly with Thomas Grubb, Vocal Coach, Juilliard School. Ms. Beth Fink continues to direct with CCBC’s Cockpit In Court Theatre (most recently, Secret Garden), Loyola Blakefield (1776) and Gilman School (How To Succeed in Business).