Mary Help of Christians Academy

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Focus On: The Arts

Inspirations 2019
Contributed by Mr. LaMendola, Faculty Member
 
Throughout this school year, Academy students have been creating artwork in preparation for this year’s exhibit, Inspirations 2019.

The Visual Arts Program at Mary Help includes Painting and Drawing, 3D Design, Studio Art, Art Appreciation and Portfolio Development, a course specifically designed for those graduating students who plan to pursue admission to fine art programs at the various prestigious and well-known art and design schools.
 
Our art students had the opportunity to work with various mediums such as acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, pen and ink and mixed media. The projects submitted for this year’s show were landscapes, still life drawings, self-portraits and 3D designs, all which highlighted each student’s level of creativity and impressive artistic achievements.
 
 
School May Be Out, But Gardening Season Has Just Begun!
Contributed by Mr. LaMendola, Faculty Member
 
While MHCA Students are starting to enjoy their first few days of summer break, our school garden is just beginning to take shape. This year, the Garden Club was off to an early start prepping and building raised beds and amending the soil. At the same time our friend the groundhog started consuming a large portion of the tender transplants that we put out and it began making a mess out of the garden.

Believe it or not, groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, have been known to eat at least a pound and a half of food a day. At that rate it would have taken it no time to wipe out the entire garden, Finely the problem was solved by lining the back of the fence with chicken wire and installing a 9 foot gate at the entrance of the garden.

Most of the damaged plants were replaced and over the last few weeks things began to really take off. Our garden club members are very proud of this year's garden (so far) in spite of a few set backs.
 
Check out this video of our garden up close!
 
 
The Academy's Women's Choir Collaborates with the Bergen Catholic Male Vocal Ensemble
Contributed by Mrs. Cardona, Choir Director
 
Twice a year, at Christmastime and in Spring, these two talented choirs come together to perform. Each choir performs two of their own concert pieces and two additional pieces arranged in SATB (soprano/alto/tenor/bass), which they have learned in their own classrooms. The choirs come together just a few hours before each concert to rehearse their combined pieces and perform for an audience.
 
This collaboration began in 2016 when the two Music Director's met at St. Malachy's, The Actor's Chapel on 48th Street (Times Square) New York City, at a National Catholic Regional Choral Festival. Combining the choirs has lead to a fun collaboration where the students have an opportunity to sing in SATB and socialize together.
 

2019 Spring Concert
Contributed by Mrs. Cardona, Choir Director
 
On Wednesday, May 15th the Freshman Music Appreciation class and the Salesian Voices had an opportunity to perform for their friends and family. They sang several songs to inspire and uplift the audience including, "Give Us Hope" by Jim Papoulis and "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman.
 
This is a great tradition here at the Academy giving every student the experience to sing in an ensemble, cultivating teamwork and collaboration while building confidence and poise. The students also write the script for the evening's performance which include poetry, thoughtful reflection and scripture.
 
 
Music in the Parks Competition
Contributed by Sr. Mary Ann, Choir Accompanist
 
On May 17th, the Salesian Voices, under the direction of Mrs. Lucia Cardona and accompanied by Sr. Mary Ann Caspary, FMA, boarded a charter bus early in the morning to participate in a Master Voice Class at LeHigh University in Pennsylvania. It was a very informative experience, with the experienced instructor of the class confirming several directives Mrs. Cardona has frequently given to our music students, including lessons on phrasing, dynamics, and modulation. The session left performers excited and renewed for their competition performance later in the day.
 
The group then continued on to participate in “Music in the Parks” hosted by Palmyra Middle School in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, where our singers performed for the judges who would later provide commentary on their scoring. The choirs musical set included three selections: “Count the Stars,” “Jubilate Alleluia,” and “True Love" with soloist Hai-Yan Koenig. After their own performance, our singers had the pleasure of watching their friends in the Bergen Catholic Men's Vocal Ensemble as they performed their own selections for the judges. Later, both groups along with their Directors, chaperones, and several parents enjoyed a lovely sit down dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The next day, was spent at Hershey Park enjoying the rides alongside all other student competitors, before an awards ceremony in the afternoon.
 
 
The Dance Department Presents its Second Evening Length Show, The Green Light
Contributed by Mrs. Fierro-Ripoll, Dance Director
 
This year's MHC Academy Dance performance of The Green Light was a tremendous success! The dancers worked tirelessly from January through May to prepare for this evening length performance. This year's inspiration was based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The performers were assigned roles, choreography, and essences they had to portray for the length of the show.
 
This year's cast of 35 committed indefinitely to their roles in order to ensure the show was presented in a professional manner. The dancers treated the creative process with respect, intellect and beauty. The Green Light ran for two evening performances had over 150 audience members in attendance at each performance. As testament to her students' commitment, Mrs. Fierro-Ripoll stated, "In my countless creative endeavors over my career, I have never worked with a group of dancers who were so determined to create a performance that meant so much to them and to their audience. I am thrilled to be continuing this new tradition in producing the Dance Department's third evening length scheduled to premiere Spring 2020."