Visual and Performing Arts at Spotswood College

Spotswood College has a vibrant and highly successful visual and performing arts programme operating in the school.

The teachers in charge give a brief overview of recent events and areas of current focus within the arts at Spotswood College.

Spotty Idol with Mr Hill

Abby Christodoulou - Spotty Idol Winner
Abby Christodoulou – Spotty Idol Winner

Spotswood College’s annual talent show, ‘Spotty Idol,’ was held on the 26th of September.

For the last nine years ‘Idol’ has showcased the abundant talent of Spotswood’s performing artists and ‘Idol’ 2013 was no exception.

The acts this year ranged from Hayley Mapley’s soulful rendition of an Amanda Palmer piano ballad to Matt Everest’s soaring Steve Vai guitar solo.

The performer crowned ‘Spotty Idol’ was Abby Christodoulou, whose beautiful voice and ability to tell a story through song really impressed the judges.

According to judge Mat Benton, Abby’s performance of Lady Antebellum’s You’re Never Alone was “outstanding”.

“She’s a natural born performer who oozes charisma. Definitely one to watch in the future,” Mr Benton said.

Dance with Ms Tahuaroa

IMG_1616-2The Dance and Drama Departments at Spotswood College are always busy as students and teachers work together to learn the tools of acting, dancing and performing. Students learn to celebrate and investigate their diversity, their inclusiveness and their care and encouragement of each other through their dance.

We are keen to understand how people think and respond. Focus is on unlocking the students’ voice (their opinions, points of view and attitudes) while searching for depth and articulation through the medium of the performing arts.

This year a group of senior dance students placed second at Spotty Idol.  It’s the first time ever a contemporary group has been placed.  The students used this piece for their ensemble assessment basing it on real and authentic learning around the suicide prevention theme.  They used Sail by Awolnation as their music track and the performance was stunning.

The students created an Arts Showcase event called ‘Our Voice, Our Place’ where their own work was showcased to an audience. The teachers empowered the students to operate the sound, lighting and back stage management as well as performing.

The success of the event was the humble nature of the students, their willingness to bring new work to the stage and their ability to support and encourage each other. It surpassed the students’ desire for credit recognition of their work and was an honest gift from performer to the audience.

Music with Mr Greenfield

 At Spotswood we accommodate a wide variety of musical tastes with an emphasis on practical performance skills, with our performers and composers all playing and/or singing.

We are able to offer students lessons with highly skilled tutors in a wide variety of instruments.

Song writing and composing is highly valued.  Many students discover they can write personal and relevant songs. The ability to create something from nothing is very useful in music and can be applied to creative processes across many aspects of life.

Successes in song writing are evident by the results in recent years for Rockquest and Play It Strange competitions.

We have a well-equipped recording studio enabling students to produce high quality recordings.  We offer a course at senior level for this technical learning.

Musical performances feature at most school assemblies and then celebrated in our extremely popular talent show, Spotty Idol.

Every year we host the Taranaki Secondary Schools Orchestra Day at Spotswood College.  Musicians work throughout the day to put pieces together showcasing them in a public concert.

Our Concert Band involves lots of instruments in a setting where students can learn to read music effectively.  For those who are Jazz inclined Hatrix offers a chance to extend their improvising, reading and musicianship skills.

This year Hatrix practised and worked well as a team winning Silver at the Waikato/BOP Band Festival in August.

The students themselves reflect the popularity of the Music Department, and the numbers enrolled for music at Spotswood College are higher than any other secondary school in New Plymouth.

The Art room with Mr Upson

The engagement, that’s what strikes you when you enter a Spotswood College art room. You look around at the diversity. You ask questions and hear the intense confidence of the students as they consider their art and its origins.

Generating, modifying, evolving, visualising, trialling are the processes as students focus on their ideas and individualised inquiries. It’s the sound of inventors in a workshop rather than hollow pretty picture makers.

Rather than imitating an art style, Spotswood art students are taught predetermining any outcomes is uncreative and static.  Experimenting with new combinations and being open to new possibilities is where more learning takes place.

You leave the art rooms feeling energised and perhaps slightly envious of the creative flurry, focus and passion. You realise it’s not just a hotbed for budding art students but a place open to all students needing to learn life-long creative and innovative thinking for our future technological culture.

This concludes the artistic journey as you have now experienced the passion, drive and national successes in the Performing Arts and Music Departments.

You will find that the arts at Spotswood use the language of life. Relate, combine, evolve, develop, persist, time manage, choice, decide, feel, turning points, the basic elements of the arts are those of everyday existence.

This article was published in the November copy of the Oakura Take A Moment

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