“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” - Jim Rohn
Taking personal responsibility: What does this have to do with the arts? We are accountable for our personal growth, and to take advantage of life lessons that serve to make us complete. Personal growth has an impact on the relationships we nurture, helping to advance our chances of succeeding in day-to-day events. Personal growth, then, becomes an art in itself – the act of participating and communicating in unique and creative ways to learn life lessons, to make the most out of life, and to improve the human condition.
Personal growth is about understanding who we are and how we fit in the world around us. To this end, the Arts at LAS provides the catalyst for personal growth so that we can realize our full potential.
Enrollment for the Visual Arts has increased by more than 50% this school year! Students at the Savoy campus have access to two and three-dimensional art classes, Digital Art, and Yearbook. Students at the Belle Époque campus may take International Baccalaureate (IB) or Studio Art classes, serving the needs of those seeking an IB Diploma, or a general visual art education.
New display panels have been installed to showcase student work at both campuses. “The Gallery” was inaugurated last spring in the Arts wing at the Savoy campus, and new display panels have been installed in the Savoy cafeteria as well as along the main hallways at the Belle Époque campus. In addition, the Belle Époque art room has been remodeled by our visual arts teacher Brian Rusher for observational figure, and still-life drawing and painting projects.
Savoy 2d/3d art students have been creating beautiful drawings and are now beginning a sculpture project transforming old books into pieces of art. Digital Art students have been learning darkroom techniques, building pinhole cameras, and learning the anatomy of the digital camera. In addition, our Savoy visual art teacher Keegan Luttrell is developing a curriculum centered around the history of Leysin and piloting the program with her digital art students.
Music is offered at the Savoy and Belle Époque campuses, where students have the option to take Guitar, Piano Keyboarding, Composition and Recording classes, and participate in after-school Choir and Jazz Ensemble activities. Music students engage in dynamic learning environments, blending cutting edge technologies with more traditional teaching methods. Courses explore music from all eras and genres, while incorporating various teaching and learning styles.
In Music Composition and Recording, students access lesson materials housed on a digital textbook and apply new techniques to both standard western notation and software music writing. Recently, students completed compositions using sounds recorded in Leysin, they then incorporated them into their work by using two different music writing programs.
Guitar and piano students are taught basics of music theory alongside contemporary ways of learning, such as music tutorials and aural training. With a background in many learning methods, students have the freedom to choose a path that works for them.
Theater is truly the art of the “re” (Rehearsing, revisiting, reimagining, and renewing among others). Starting with an inventive arena staging of A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room in Fall 2014; LAS Theater has, under the leadership of Theater Director R. Allen Babcock, sought by reflecting on complex questions of existence, sustainability, responsibility, and respect of difference, to reintroduce the art of theater as provocateur to the school community.
In The Dining Room, an impressive cohort of 18 students from across all grade levels conspired to develop compelling characters who when faced with difficult circumstance find ways and means to achieve complex objectives. Together the 18 actors breathed life into 56 distinct characters throughout the production.
The spring 2015 musical saw involvement from more than ten percent of the student body (more than 45 students!). The resulting production of Urinetown, the Musical, despite its inauspicious title, successfully created a dystopian reality that called into question our societal behaviors vis-a-vis sustainability. In concert with other like-mindedly restless groups on campus, in particular, the ARC Project, LAS theater added some song and dance levity to the big questions surrounding limits to growth, the efficacy of our current systems of governance as well as the way societies over-sexualize and subjugate the voice of women. All are reminders that reduce, reuse, and recycle is important, but so is recognition and respect.
Fall 2015 saw a reinvented system for rehearsals with two one-act plays simultaneously rehearsing. English teacher and Director Ms. Donna Everett directed This Is A Test, by Stephen Gregg, while Mr. Babcock took the helm of The Static, by Davey Anderson. A total of 21 actors and three stage managers worked hard to bring the complex and interesting pieces to life. Both center on school settings, but take vastly different stylistic approaches. This is a Test leverages over-blown farcical comedy to tell a story, while The Static uses elements of devised theater and company work to comment on the story while it is unfolding. Anderson creates a fast paced montage of scenes and images to create the world of a young student overwhelmed and overstimulated after his ADHD diagnosis, while Gregg plays on the idea of what happens in our mind as we confront test anxiety. The plays are running in repertory fashion, one after the other, to create an interesting evening of juxtapositions.
Spring 2016 has much in store for LAS theater. An exciting reintroduction of the Improvisation Club will bring more students into the program for training and workshops that lead to a performance at the end of the school year. Simultaneously, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (musical) will be staged. We look forward to lots of laughs and renewing the sentiment through song and dance shared by the revered Charlie Brown: “happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you.”
“This was the best trip I’ve ever had in my life and that’s because of the experience and emotions that I had. I really don’t want to come back, because you created a magical space in time, where I want to stay forever. This whole experience changed me in some way and opened up a new little world. I haven’t felt such a huge spectrum of emotions for a long time. I’ve never felt in love with the time, places, and people so deeply.” - Daria R. ‘17
Several guest artists will be engaged with our students at LAS this year, including ACS alumnae Pam Hardenburg who will lead a workshop to facilitate inspiration inherent in the landscape of Leysin through photography. This project will continue throughout the year, culminating in an exhibition in Leysin this spring. Also, ceramicist Sue Mundy, an accomplished potter from the UK, will lead several workshops to take full advantage of our existing ceramics facility at Belle Époque. For the third year running, LAS will host Francois le Roux (The Ha! Man) for his master classes that encourage students to create spontaneous art through music, visual art, and movement.
Several educational excursions have been organized to support arts programming at LAS, including a trip to the Paul Klee Centre in Bern, the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne, and the Pierre Gianadda Fondation in Martigny. LAS students were also afforded two cultural trips focused on the arts in October. Visual Arts teacher Ms. Keegan Luttrell along with Mr. Babcock led a very successful music/art excursion to Berlin. Studio visits were arranged with working artists, many current contemporary works of art were viewed, students created their own stencil street art, and an art collection was viewed in a former World War II bunker. Berlin served as a perfect background for students to meet artists, witness unique performances, and experience the transformative power of art.
One student’s remarks highlighted the success of the Berlin trip: “This was the best trip I’ve ever had in my life and that’s because of the experience and emotions that I had. I really don’t want to come back, because you created a magical space in time, where I want to stay forever. This whole experience changed me in some way and opened up a new little world. I haven’t felt such a huge spectrum of emotions for a long time. I’ve never felt in love with the time, places, and people so deeply.” - Daria R. ’17.
Additionally, students interested in Music traveled to Basel for a cultural excursion led by music teacher Kelly Deklinski. Highlights of the excursion included a tour of Basel City Recording Studios, a look at musician instruments at the Historical Museum of Music in Basel, and a live performance of Brazilian Jazz by the Eliane Elias Quartet at the Volkshaus Concert Hall. The trip concluded with a visit to The HeK House of Electronic Arts where students were introduced to the Biophilia education project. The HeK workshop was based on famed Icelandic musician Björk’s Biophilia application in which students are introduced to a synthesized world of science and music, and are allowed to create digital compositions grounded on scientific phenomena.
For more information about the Arts at LAS, please contact Department Chair Dr. L. Ira Bigelow ’12P, ’13P, ’15P: email@example.com.
LAS ARTS PERFORMANCE AND EXHIBITION SCHEDULE FOR 2015-16:
Fall Productions – December 3 & 4
Winter Concert & Art Exhibition – December 8
Winter Family Concert & Art Exhibition – February 9
IB Art Exhibition – April 8
Spring Musical – April 13-15
Evening With The Stars – April 21 and 22
Film Festival – April 28
LAS ARTS TEAM:
Dr. L. Ira Bigelow ’12P, ’13P, ’15P,
Mr. R. Allen Babcock, Theater
Ms. Kelly Deklinski, Music
Ms. Keegan Luttrell, Visual Art
Mr. Brian Rusher, Visual Ar
- Panorama 2016