Visual arts faculty members at The John Cooper School are considered “artists-in-residence,” because they are artists who work in a variety of mediums. Jayla Ash Davis, Amy Dietrich, Visual Arts Department Chair Bob Mosier, Jamila Musa-Carr, Lesia Streckfess and Emily Taylor as well as French teacher Jodie Gill, each contributed an original piece of art to a Silent Auction that was held in conjunction with The John Cooper School’s Fine Arts Festival Week in April.
The annual event, sponsored by the school’s Fine Arts Council, is a week-long campus celebration to highlight student work in the visual and performing arts with performances, exhibits and art-related activities.
Proceeds from the Faculty Art Silent Auction benefited Because Art Matters, the community and educational outreach arm of The Woodlands Arts Council. The auction raised $800 to enable more schools and residents in the area to be able to actively engage in the arts through programs provided through The Woodlands Arts Council.
“We believe in the importance of people being able to actively engage in the arts and are pleased to support the education and outreach efforts of this local arts organization,” said Bob Mosier.
In celebration of its 20th season Class Act, performing troupe for youth, based in The Woodlands opened its extravaganza “The Wizard of Oz,” last week. The musical continues this weekend at Nancy Bock Center for the Performing Arts in The Woodlands.
As expected, praise was lavish and well-deserved for founder Keith Brumfield’s efforts. Young thespians love “Mr. B’s” quiet direction and easy-going nature. He gained respect years ago from enthusiastic parents who realize that his expertise works magic with their children.
Brumfield, and Matthew Peters of The Woodlands High School theatre department who assists him for this show, work with ordinary kids, discern nuggets of talent, and polish many of them into stars. A big part of this success is the total support from parents for their clever offspring and the intrepid leader.
In “The Wizard of Oz,” Jaden Harris portrays the major role of Dorothy who becomes lost in a dream world with her “little dog” Toto. They meet some kindly souls, less amicable witches, a conglomerate series of unbelievable beings, a man of mythical powers (or none at all), and finally make it back home to Kansas.
Jaden is a junior at The Woodlands High School where she participates in all things theatre, including past productions of “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “The Addams Family.” Some other Class Act roles were in “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Murphy Baker earned a 10-year history with Class Act. She becomes the Wicked Witch of The West. A fres
h grad of TWHS, Baker was heavily involved there in theatre and choir, and played myriad roles in Class Act’s “Oliver!”, “Crazy for You,” “Mary Poppins,” “Shrek the Musical,” plus a plethora others. She plans to attend Colorado Mesa University to earn a bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre.
Tin Man Jack Whitney graduated from John Cooper School where he performed in “Cinderella,” “The Boyfriend,” and others. His credits with Class Act include “The Sound of Music” and “The Little Mermaid.” He’s enrolling at Williams College this fall.
After 13 years with Class Act that include 38 musicals, soprano Emily Moses graduated from John Cooper School and plans to study vocal performance at Louisiana State University, leading to a career in opera. She performed in Cooper productions as well as with Houston Grand Opera, and currently portrays good witch Glinda.
Brandon Brumfield, son of much-loved Class Act founder, is 21 and aging out of Class Act productions after participating since age 7. He’s the Cowardly Lion in this rendition of “Oz.” “I’
m an EMT student training to be a firefighter,” Brandon said. “Along with acting I am a drummer and an outdoorsman.”
He also started a film company, Magic Fire Productions, and has won a number of awards for film projects. His Class Act roles were in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” as Bill Sikes in “Oliver!”, “The Sound of Music,” and numerous summer stock productions.
“The Wizard of Oz” runs July 14, 15, 16, with some 7 p.m. performances as well as other afternoon matinees. Reserve at www.classactproductions.org or 281-292-6779. Tickets cost $13 t0 $32, depending on seat location.
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) have each recognized the 2016 edition of Inkblots, the art and literary magazine of The John Cooper School, with top honors.
Inkblots, Volume XIX, “Silent Symphonies,” was nominated by CSPA for its highest honor, a Scholastic Crown, that will be announced in March at CSPA’s annual spring convention at Columbia University. For the eighth consecutive year, the magazine has received the highest ranking of Gold Medal in the CSPA Medalist Critique. Senior Sadie Robb was editor-in-chief of the 156-page magazine, and Gibson Field and Nikki Juszczak were assistant editors.
Cooper student artists and writers were also recognized with eight Gold Circle Awards. Senior Claire Cromley was awarded two third place awards; in Free Form Poetry for “The Artist” and Traditional Poetry for “Dress Code.” Certificates of Merit were awarded in Photography to Sam Brus for his single photo, “Soulful” and to Heather Scotti for her portfolio of photography and Alex Swanbeck for Portfolio Illustration. Students from Cooper’s Class of 2016 who were awarded Certificates of Merit were Seth Dickens and Marina Ferguson for design, and Meredith Brus for her Experimental Fiction piece, “Open Ocean.”