KEHS celebrates ArtsFest Week

We recently held our annual ArtsFest week, where several departments hosted curriculum lessons or co-curricular activities to enable pupils to engage with the arts in a range of ways. 
It was fantastic to see so many departments and pupils involved, as well as seeing different year groups collaborating and having fun, whilst being challenged through discussions related to the arts.  It was also an opportunity for departments and societies to join forces to deliver activities beyond the curriculum, such as the Drama and Psychology talk that took place on Thursday morning, or the collaboration of Spoken Word Club and the Music department working with Birmingham organisation ‘Tell It To The Music’.
Many thanks to all staff who made a special effort to promote the arts through their own subject areas. I hope you enjoy reading the articles about ArtFest, as well as seeing photos that capture the variety of activities.  

Miss Hill

Co-curricular activities

On Sunday 16 June, we hosted our annual Summer Jazz Concert. The concert featured performances from the KES/KEHS Big Band, Swing Band, soloists, small bands, and professional guest musicians. The evening was a huge success and kicked off ArtsFest 2024 in style! Performances included the work of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk – a fantastic range of Jazz classics. 

From the Monday, the Upper Fourth’s digital artwork was displayed on screens around the school, showcasing the Photoshop skills they had been learning in lessons. We also saw the launch of the Thirds photography competition, hosted a Theatre Design Exhibition, featuring many props and designs from previous fantastic school productions, and held the first lunchtime film screening of the week. Minari, a semi-autobiographical take on upbringing of the Director, Lee Isaac Chung, follows a family of South Korean immigrants who move to rural Arkansas during the 1980s.

Tuesday saw another two film screenings, this time with Inside Out (which proved to be a huge hit!) and Ma Vie de Courgette. Our talented poets and musicians attended a workshop with ‘Tell It To The Music’, an experimental space where the poetry and music communities merge. We are very grateful to Vato Klemera and Amy Coates for running the workshops.

Tuesday lunchtime also included a fantastic talk from Roger Shanon, who co-edited the book ‘Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies’. Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was an English born artist and writer who received much critical acclaim and achieved stellar status in Mexico, where she lived and worked for most of her life, having fled Europe via Spain in tormenting circumstances. The talk proved to be a fascinating look into a range of artistic, scholarly and creative responses to the realm of Carrington, emphasising how her work becomes a medium, and a provocation for new thinking in the world. 

Wednesday began with Drama and Psychology joining forces for a screening and discussion of ‘The Effect’ by Lucy Prebble. Some of you may also know the playwright from her recent television hit, ‘Succession’. We also held plenty of other screenings at lunchtime, including Mean Girls, the second part of Ma Vie de Courgette, and the stop-motion film Bonjour le Monde

On the Thursday, we hosted a Lunchtime Recital in the Ruddock Hall. Connie gave a wonderful performance of Prokofiev’s Sonata No.2 (Mvt.I) which added a brilliant musical aspect to ArtsFest. 

Drama also hosted a House Monologue Slam, where students performed an array of fascinating monologues to a live audience. 

During the same lunchtime, pupils gathered for a cross-curricular session on art in Weimar Germany, where they engaged in thoughtful discussions of the themes portrayed in different pieces of artwork from this period and the impact that key historical events would have had. It was wonderful to see some of our Sixth Form pupils, including Lulu and Nandhika, taking the lead in discussions with younger students. 

The final day of ArtsFest was celebrated with our ‘Sound & Vision’ concert in the Ruddock Hall. The concert was an evening of music, film, art and poetry, and featured chamber ensembles, live artwork, performances from Spoken Word Club and classwork form Upper Fourth music lessons. We were using the concert as a fundraising event for The Royal National Institute for Deaf People. If anyone still wishes to donate please do so here: Donate – RNID

Congratulations to the following students who performed: The Faulty Quartet (Priyamvada, violin; Sophia, violin; Nayan, viola; Esmee, cello), The Toot Suite Trio (Mandy, flute; Anya,  flute; Esmee, oboe), Screenplay Strings Quartet (Li, violin; Erin, violin; Siyua, viola; Beatrice, cello), The Ghibli Sextet (Derwent, harp; Nandhika, flute; Priyamvada, violin; Lulu, violin; Emmy, viola), ‘Tell It To The Music’ performers (Musicians – Priyamvada, Rebecca, Srilakshmi, Rebecca, Derwent, Sissi, Connie; Poets – Aneesha, Japmeh, Ashrita; Artist – Violet), and Lower School Choir members. One of our poets from the ‘Tell It To The Music’ item, Ashrita, had this to say about the event: 

On Friday 21 June, students were given the chance to celebrate their peers’ work and delight in wonderful music whilst raising funds for The Royal National Institute for Deaf People. Having performed Spoken Word poetry myself, I cannot even put pen to paper to illustrate what an incredibly purposeful and liberating feeling it was having live music and art bring to life my own vision; it was truly unbelievable to discover what my work had inspired others to create. One of the most beautiful things was when Violet, KEHS’ next Van Gogh, created a poignant sketch to encapsulate my poem’s mood, and I am grateful to have collaborated with her on this and am so excited with how it turned out. Most of all, the feeling one gets once you perform something as emotive and vulnerable as poetry can never be described in words and the Tell it To the Music Band provided such an atmosphere and environment in which we felt safe and could speak our truth, so for that reason I will forever be indebted to them and all those whose efforts went into making that night possible.

Curricular activities

As part of the Latin curriculum, the Upper Fourth studied mosaic making earlier this year. Mosaics were used by the Romans to cover floors, walls and arches in public and private buildings and were particularly suitable for decorating floors as they were very hard wearing. During ArtsFest week, the students had the opportunity to try making mosaics for themselves, using a range of dried beans and lentils. 

I really enjoyed the activity and thought it was a fun and inventive way of creating our own designs for our own mosaics.
Upper Fourth
In Religious Studies, the KS3 classes took part in the NATRE Spirited Arts competition. Pupils were tasked with creating a piece of artwork relating to one of six themes, followed by a short summary of no more than 400 words describing their artwork and how it related to the theme that they had chosen. The themes were: 
  • Faith in Humanity: No to racism, yes to respect.
  • Looking Beyond
  • How do we envisage God?  
  • Wise Words? Holy Words?  
  • Green faith, green future?  
  • Why do animals matter?  
The best pieces of work will be chosen by the RS department and submitted into the national competition, so we look forward to hearing how they get on. 

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