By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia Old Town Theatre Group (BOTTG) had a good evening Sunday night. The local theater company took home five trophies in the Arty Awards for its fall and spring productions, including the top prize for its Sherlock Holmes-inspired comedy “The Game’s Afoot.”“Game” took home three awards in the ceremony honoring theater productions in Solano and Napa counties, held this year at Solano Community College’s theater. It was voted as the outstanding adult comedy production, and Paul Hughes and Natasha Harris took top honors as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.
BOTTG’s other production of the year was “Intimate Apparel,” an adaptation of Lynn Nottage’s play about a young African-American woman who travels to New York to fulfill her dreams of becoming a seamstress. Dan Clark won top honors for directing, and Chelsea Bearce– herself a Benicia High School graduate– was named as the best leading actress. Due to a tie in the voting, the award also went to Heather Buck for her performance in Lucky Penny Productions’ “The Miracle Worker.”
Source: BOTTG at top of its ‘Game’ at Arty Awards
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The 33rd annual Arty Awards gala kicked off with members of the opening act on a make-believe tour of the newly renovated Solano Community College Performing Arts Center.
“It’s a very pretty view,” said one of the women, as they entered from the right side of the stage and down the center aisle. “I think I heard something,” said another.
As they made their own way to the stage, another noticed a packed house. “I see theater people,” she said.
The group of five then broke into “We’re at the Artys,” adapted from “42nd Street’s” “We’re in the Money.”
Host Jennifer Schemke joked that she wanted to tell the audience her name was Stephen Colbert. Colbert was hosting the Emmys at the same time the Performing Arts Network was honoring live theater in the area.
Source: Full house at newly renovated Solano College theater celebrates Arty awards
By Bill Hicks
Anyone who had ever been to Solano Community College’s previous Theatre Arts building might have a memory of a theater that was adequate but didn’t necessarily bowl anyone over in terms of aesthetics and general functionality.
The concessions were previously sold, for instance, out of a closet.
That has all changed.
Guests at the college’s ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday took a tour of the fully refurbished performing arts center and the transformation was monumental.
“It was a full renovation,” college President-Superintendent Celia Esposito-Noy said. “This project was made necessary for a number of health and safety reasons.”
Source: Renovated Solano College theater steals show at ribbon-cutting
By Richard Bammer
With some fanfare and a ribbon-cutting, Solano Community College leaders on Wednesday will open its newly refurbished Performing Arts Building.
The event begins at 5 p.m. on the main Fairfield campus, 4000 Suisun Valley Road.
The newly renovated facility, also known as Building 1200, will house the theater arts and music programs, as well as instructional classrooms, and student support space.
More than 28,000 square feet of existing space was renovated to make the building a place of enhanced learning for students, college officials noted in a press release.
“What is great about this particular project is the new theater space,” said Celia Esposito-Noy, the school president-superintendent. “Not only will students have a beautiful location in which to perform, but the college now has a space to highlight our outstanding theater, music, and dance productions as well as other academic programs.”
Source: SCC to open renovated theater Wednesday
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Amy Rich honed her violin skills in a bedroom converted into a music studio inside Alina Adams’ Vacaville home.
She’ll perform Sunday in hopes of helping Adams realize her dream of starting the Pleasant Valley School, inspired by the Waldorf method that believes education is an art and it must speak to the child’s experience.
Adams has been teaching 14 years. Rich has been with her for 11 years.
Adams has put on a show featuring her students each year. Admission was free.
Source: Music students support teacher’s vision of Waldorf-inspired school
By Nick Sestanovich
Hundreds of students, alumni, parents and teachers filled the Benicia Unified School District office to address concerns over Benicia High School’s new graduation requirements, scheduled to go into effect for the class of 2022, at Thursday’s school board meeting. In fact, the turnout was so large that the majority had to watch a livestream of the meeting that was set up in the Liberty High School gym.
On March 16, the school board held a discussion on proposed new graduation requirements to more closely resemble the University of California and California State University requirements. The proposed changes were as follows:
* Health and the semesterlong elective that accompanied it would be replaced by a new yearlong course titled “Get Focused,” intended to help freshmen be successful by identifying their life and career goals early on and developing a pathway to prepare for that field, according to its description in the 2017-2018 course catalog.
Source: Community makes plea for support of arts, electives at Benicia High School during Thursday’s school board meeting
By Nick Sestanovich
Parents, students and teachers packed the Benicia High School Performing Arts Building for an informational meeting Monday night about the new school board-approved graduation requirements where they voiced their concerns about their potential impact on art and elective courses.
At the March 16 school board meeting, the board held a discussion and first reading of the proposed new requirements to go into effect for the class of 2022, which Superintendent Charles Young said were modeled after the University of California and California State University requirements, although with some modifications. The required amount of units for graduation would remain at 220, but some of the units would be redistributed to additional requirements. The proposed changes were as follows:
* Health and the semesterlong elective that accompanied it would be replaced by a new yearlong course titled “Get Focused,” intended to help freshmen be successful by identifying their life and career goals early on and develop a pathway to prepare for that field, according to its description in the 2017-2018 course catalog.
Source: Benicia High School informational meeting draws concerns over new graduation requirements, funding for PAB
By Susan Hiland
The artwork of Will C. Wood High’s Jasmin Tupy has been voted a top-five finalist for the National Vans Custom Culture Art Contest and the was only school in California to be selected.
The competition’s final event takes place in June when the five finalists will be awarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their customized shoe design around the Vans’ “Off the Wall” themes to a panel of celebrity judges.
The grand prize for the winning school is $50,000 toward its art program and the potential of one of the designs sold in Vans retail locations. The four runner-up schools will receive $4,000 toward their art program.
Source: Good News: Vacaville student’s art picked as Top 5 in nation
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
How do you learn history, teamwork, community involvement and several disciplines of art, all at the same time?
Randall Goni’s Jesse Bethel High School ceramics class did it by getting involved with the Capitol Street Stairs Mosaic Project, that’s been working its way through the system for slightly more than a year.
Local artist Sarah Nichols conceived of the project and, with Berkeley artist Jos Sances, dreamed up the idea of involving the art students, she said.
Source: Bethel art students working on downtown Vallejo art project fund-raiser
By Katy St. Clair
The California Department of Education is recognizing Benicia High School for its “Exemplary Program in Arts Education.”
Benicia High had previously been selected as a “Gold Ribbon School” by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson for representing “best practices” in education.
The Public Safety Academy in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District also received the “Exemplary” honor for its “Career Technical Education.”
Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said that both schools served their community with “model practices” and support their students with “state-of-the-art programs.”
Source: Benicia High School honored for exemplary arts education
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Hannah Siu loves the outdoors and art.
She’s employed both passions in “Mystical Meadow,” one of nearly 300 entries submitted to the Vacaville Art League’s annual student show. An honorable mention ribbon sits next to her creation on a pedestal.
The Buckingham High School senior used about 10 layers of paper to create the three-dimensional scene. She carved with a thin tool and used about 30 pieces of paper in the accordion-style piece.
It was created during her painting and sculpting class at school when her instructor encouraged the students to be creative, she said.
Source: Buckingham artist ‘layers it on’ for annual student art show
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced additional honors for 23 of the 275 middle schools and high schools that were recognized as Gold Ribbon Schools last month.
Twenty-three of those Gold Ribbon Schools have been selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Schools applied separately for those honors. Luther Burbank Middle School in Los Angeles County and Granite Bay High School in Placer County are multiple winners recognized for Exemplary Programs in both Arts Education and Career Technical Education.
“We know that school offerings outside of core academic subject areas—in addition to sparking creative minds and producing healthy bodies—keep students engaged in school, connected, and on the path to graduation and 21st century careers and college. I congratulate these 23 Gold Ribbon schools on their outstanding work.”
Source: Torlakson Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Andrew Ujifusa
Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September.
Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program.
And state grants for special education would increase by $90 million up to $12 billion. However, Title II grants for teacher development would be cut by $294 million, down to about $2.1 billion for the rest of fiscal 2017.
The bill would also provide $400 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, also known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title IV is a block grant that districts can use for a wide range of programs, including health, safety, arts education, college readiness, and more.
Source: Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia Unified School District would like to invite you to a wedding— “Virgil’s Wedding,” that is.
This week, audiences will be treated to a performance of Eddie McPherson’s Southern comedy at Benicia Middle School for a dinner theater fundraiser. However, the union depicted in “Virgil’s Wedding” is not the only marriage that attendees will stand witness to, as the production itself is a marriage of the drama programs at BUSD’s elementary, middle and high schools.
“Virgil’s Wedding” is the first show to be performed by the Benicia Unified Players, a theater collective consisting of student actors at all three levels in Benicia schools. Under the direction of elementary school drama teacher Nikki Tillotson, Benicia Middle School drama teacher Cathy Wright and Benicia High School drama teacher Nathan Day, the group pulls students together from all of the schools to perform and help raise money for art programs at the schools currently in need.
“We saw the need for a united dramatic arts program connecting K-12
grade students,” Tillotson and Wright said. “Each school has a drama program, but each school needs resources. We decided that if students joined together to entertain an audience, they could use the ticket revenue to ‘play it forward’ to whatever school had needs.”
Source: 3 school drama programs combine for “Virgil’s Wedding”
The Artistic Discovery Contest is open to all high school students in the 3rd District, which includes all or portions of Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties.
Submissions for the Congressional High School Art Competition in Congressman John Garamendi’s 3rd District are due by 5 p.m. April 28 in Fairfield and Davis.
Full details are available at http://garamendi.house.gov/how-can-i-help/art-competition.
Call ahead for Yuba City drop off time at (530) 329-8865.
To find out residency in the 3rd District, visit www.house.gov/representatives/find.
Source: Congressional high school art competition deadline extended
By Daily Republic Staff
Students in the seventh through 12th grades can participate in a countywide video contest that underscores the impacts of positive behavior in Solano County.
Videos must be between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, and are due April 21.
The contest, The Power of Kindness, is sponsored by Supervisor John Vasquez and District Attorney Krishna Abrams.
Source: Solano announces kindness video contest
By Susan Hiland
Jasmine Hamilton, a math teacher at Crystal Middle School, will teach two new dance classes at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School.
The recreational dance class includes international, folk, square, contra and ballroom dance. Students will learn specific dances from each of these styles and gain an understanding and appreciation of the role of dance in societies and cultures.
The dance fitness course includes an introduction to various dance styles such as ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop.
Source: Dance classes offered at Adult School
By Daily Republic Staff
Students from five Solano County high schools will compete next week in a national poetry recitation contest.
The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
The Poetry Out Loud county finals begin at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Fairfield Civic Center Library, 1150 Kentucky St. Contestants will recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems.
Source: Solano high school students compete for national poetry honors
Legislation introduced Monday will help California showcase its role as a world leader by improving media arts education so students will be better prepared for jobs in movies, animation, video games, virtual reality, and other media arts fields, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.
Torlakson sponsored AB 37, which Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell introduced Monday. This is the first day bills can be introduced for the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session. O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, is Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.
“This is an exciting step forward to improve our students’ education in the fascinating and creative world of media arts,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school teacher and coach. “I want to thank Assemblymember O’Donnell for introducing this measure and preparing students for media arts opportunities in 21st century careers and college.”
Source: New Legislation to Promote Media Arts Education – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
In Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” the character Ebenezer Scrooge, a name universally synonymous with being a cold-hearted miser, fails to adopt an attitude of gratitude until he comes face to face with his bankrupt moral inventory.
Right up until Christmas Eve, as written in the short 1843 novel, Scrooge, ever the stingy creditor, continues his bad-tempered ways, rejecting a Christmas dinner invitation from a nephew and all the warm trappings of the holidays. He yells at charity workers and abuses his earnest employee, Bob Cratchit, before he is redeemed by a self-understanding and a power greater than himself.
The well-known story contains a message about the meaning of Christmas, which may explain why the Will C. Wood High School Singers will stage it Dec. 1 to 3 in the Vacaville Opera House, 560 Main St.
Source: Wood High choral group to stage Madrigal Dinner