Spring Showcase at Brandeis HS

Students from the three Urban Arts Partnership after school programs at Louis D. Brandeis High School recently came together for their annual Spring Showcase.  All three programs presented strong work and celebrated their accomplishments with family and friends in attendance.  We’re so proud of all the hard work and creativity from these young artists!

The String Ensemble performed three pieces they have been working on: “Pokerface” by Lady Gaga, the traditional hymn “How Can I Keep From Singing,” and “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay.  They displayed confidence and technical skill in their playing, as well as a strong sense of cohesion as an ensemble.

“This year I learned how to play my instrument, how to practice better, and how to not get stage fright.  I will remember performing and being with the group.  It was my first year with Urban Arts and I had fun.” said 11th grader Alexis.

“We worked on a lot of different pieces… my favorites were Lady Gaga and “Viva La Vida.”  We learned how to listen to each other, how to tune our instruments, and how to perform without being nervous.” added 12th grader Regine.

The Good Lookin’ Photo Club presented several different projects they created during the year.  Students created comic panels using photos they had taken to create original stories and discussed their process.  The group also had a large display of students’ favorite shots taken during the year to show the diverse range of work produced.  The club also screened two stop-motion animations, both made in collaboration with the other two UAP programs at Brandeis.  With the Drama Club, students created original experimental scenes.  They also collaborated with the String Ensemble to create “moving portraits” of members of the String Ensemble, set to a recording of the ensemble’s performance of “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay.  Check out this animation below:

“We worked a lot on building a portfolio and taking pictures in different situations.  We learned about stop-motion animation and prop setups.  I liked shooting still life scenes.  Mine had different art supplies and other things from home.  My favorite things to shoot are portraits because I love getting people’s reactions.  I also like landscapes because the scene can change over time, and a picture can capture how things looked so people in the future can look back and see how it was.  I’m glad I joined the club.  I’m an artist and I like taking pictures of anything.” remarked 11th grader Jason.

The Drama Club students performed their original one-act play “American Dream,” which tells the story of a dysfunctional family coming apart.  The characters include a delusional mother who tries to pretend everything’s perfect, her prized plant TreeTree that she secretly talks to for advice and comfort, her troubled husband who is tormented with emotional instability and nightmares since returning from military duty, and her two daughters who argue constantly, one of whom finds solace in talking to her dog.  The play included humor, intrigue and surprising turns, as well as strong performances from all the actors.  “American Dream” is a unique and darkly funny vision from these young performing artists.


“Our play was about a family becoming psychotic.  I played the tree… he helps the main character, Barbara, by talking to her and gives her advice about her family.  I thought I wasn’t going to like acting and bring on stage, but I really liked it.” said 11th grader Joel.

Fellow Drama Club member Ashley (11th grade) added, “I like acting because I get to be creative playing different characters and working with people.  Getting into character can be hard, but then I think about how the character acts throughout their day and what they’re thinking and feeling.  I learned how you get into character by focusing and bringing your emotions into it.  The play was awesome.  I liked the story most because we all put in our ideas.”

“I improved my acting skills and got to exercise something I love.  When you’re hungry for something, you have to do whatever it takes.  My character is a retired military man.  He has nightmares about who killed his friend.  He’s seeing a psychiatrist and eventually remembers that he actually killed his friend.  There’s a lot of emotions.  I think that connecting with my emotions and focusing helps me bring emotions to the stage.” said 12th grader Edwin.