Pitch Project | Colorado Lifestyle Photographer
The very first time I stepped foot into this room I knew I had gotten myself into trouble.
10 years ago I entered High School as an obnoxious, people pleasing freshman. I sought out every opportunity to be the center of attention and quickly learned my place that I was no longer the big shot on campus as I was just a few months prior at the middle school. I was once again at the bottom, however during the next 4 years I would learn so much about myself, my peers and teamwork that would once again place me at the top but this time with irreplaceable family I had made throughout my High School Experience.
I was introduced to the fabulous Derek Galvicius my 8th grade year during auditions for the choir groups at the High School's. His passion for music resonated within me early on and continued to increase with each learning opportunity handed to me. Going into High School I was accepted into Trebel Choir [ The only year we ever had an all female choir ] and Concert Choir [ an eclectic mix of 80-150 students ]. Later on I would be accepted into Surround Sound which would bring on a WHOLE new level of challenges. These groups would go onto helping create the basis of my Fine Arts Resume and the individual that is me today!
When I first reached out to "G" for this project I was apprehensive on how I would tackle it. The individuals I worked with to create this piece were supportive, tough, and honest! I knew I wanted to approach this with as much raw emotion I could possibly provide. I wanted to showcase the tough love, the dedication, and the hard work that not only the students put in but the teacher as well. Without any of those, Concerts would not exist, Travel opportunities would cease and the ability to touch the ever living souls of those who are as passionate about music would not happen.
It seems that the Fine Art Programs are constantly screaming to wake people up on how important having these classes, after school activities, and groups are! Education in the arts is an essential part in the development of each human being. The arts itself, is what makes us most human, complete as people. Unlike science or math [ please note these are just my personal thoughts, I fully understand that all students learn differently], the arts cannot be learned through occasional lessons. It opens up a sense of free thinking, self expression and creative outlets for a majority of students and individuals all over the world.
Choir specifically, teaches responsibility, reflection, and teamwork. It allows the ability to communicate with each other in different cultural language, helps us adapt to emotion, and allows us to understand our own bodies. Not only are we introduced to beautiful pieces, we are welcomed by a rich history on the pieces performed, we are taught math and science in a new and creative way, for example we need to learn how to properly count and how each note specifies a unique count to piece together an elaborate performance. We are taught breath control, how the muscles in our diaphrams, vocal chords and mouths create a different tone for each song performed. Which is a perfect preface of biology and health!
We wouldn't be able to understand this knowledge without the help of our mentors. I can honestly say it makes a huge difference when you are challenged by someone who is passionate about the subject they teach. When their energy spreads throughout the room it amplifies your need to succeed. Derek Galvicius was exceptional at this! Not only did he liven the room with his piano skills, goofy personality and contagious smile he could also put the fear of god in you. This affects everyone differently, YOU have to the be the one to take it either positive or negative. It always stemmed from a place of good, he wanted to see his students succeed and when this "G" showed you knew it was time to bring your A game. It was refreshing to see this side again as the students prepped for their end of the year Pops Concert which always left a mark on the students leaving!
I had the chance to sit down with "G" and get a better understanding of what he got out from his career.
Lindsay : " What do YOU want to gain from the students you teach?"
Galvicius : " I want to understand....on a deeper level. I want to understand for the sake of my own kids. When I look around this room I want to be able to react, encourage and help my kids the way the students here help me. This is the prime time in every persons life where your actions as an adult/ individual/ teacher can leave a huge impression on a chi....teenagers life."
Lindsay : " What do you love about your job?"
Galvicius : " The constant feeling of not knowing, Each day is completely different. Each year brings a fresh wave of faces and I think there is something fun about that"
Lindsay : " How do you think the fine arts department affects students, both current and past?"
Galvicius: " I love the fact that this is their safe haven. Of course during high school you are going to go through the turmoil of peer pressure, judgement and bullying. It shouldn't happen, but it does. This is a safety net where students can feel ....... like they don't have to hide who they are. They know if they need anything, if they are troubled by anything that I am always here. Their peers are always here and that this room & department can heal and comfort when needed "
Lindsay - " That is incredibly true! I know for a fact that this spot, the field and the stage was where I could be honest, I guess with myself. I have had a lot of self realizations in those practice rooms. There have been breakups, first kisses, family bonding and self confidence building that happened here and honestly I feel like I can breathe again being here now."
Galvicius : "That's what I hope for all my students, this is a place to just .... Cliche, yes....but to be you" .
* Que the start of the waterworks*
I was able to get insight from the students themselves on what they loved about the Fine Arts department.
Lindsay: " Why did you specifically choose choir as your class"
Anon : " You always hear those tacky responses when this question is asked, but that's the response I HAVE to give. I chose choir because it makes me feel. The class itself isn't for everyone. You will always have those students who will take the class because it's an easy A, however they fail to realize that this is still a class. We learn. We just learn in a different way than you would in a regular classroom. I love being hands on and in depth with my music, I love creating new ideas and challenging myself. My other classes.......do that, but it's not enough..If that makes sense. I chose this class because I wanted to take a new approach to learning while being surrounded by something I love"
Lindsay: " You said you like the different approach in learning, can you elaborate on that?"
Anon : " Sure thing. So you know how your core classes you are essentially groomed to follow a certain....understanding and learning style in the classroom? Kinda? We have been taught this specific way since Kindergarten.....I know you are making that ' What is she talking about face' but bare with me! Society believes that EVERY student learns the same....at least what I see in society....and that is not the case. For example I am TERRIBLE at Math and Science, and I know you had mentioned you were the same! When you are placed in a setting where you can be hands on while taking a new approach to the learning method, it opens a can of worms that cannot be undid. Because I am involved in both Choir and Art classes my approach to my core classes seem to come easier because I apply my learning methods here as I do in my classes. I really appreciate my teachers who give us more crafty assignments because I thrive and excel. I guess instead of going on this long tangent all I can say is I learn better when color, music, creative thinking are applied "
Lindsay : " I cannot help but laugh because it's like looking at a mini me! If you could talk to a politician in regards to the arts programs what would you say?"
Anon: " To stop and actually pay attention to what the next generation has to say. I don't think politicians understand how much work, dedication and happiness goes in and comes out to the students who are involved in these clubs and classes. Am I okay to be open.... yeah? Okay so I struggle with depression, but so does everyone in the world. Do you realize how exhausting it is to take pills just to make you happy? I am still growing and the fact that I am this young and struggling with mental health issues is quite sad. I am constantly tired, I am moody, but when I come here my day goes so much smoother. I can honestly say I am happy. I smile, I can FEEL, do you know how amazing that is! I CAN FEEL this class has it's ups and downs but my god it is amazing to leave feeling so heightened just from singing. People don't get that "
I truly enjoyed watching these students express themselves. Their devotion to music was overwhelming and I have to say it was nice to join in the old memories of warm ups.
Lindsay: " I saw you guys travelled to New York talk to me about that!"
Galvicius : " You know how I get when it comes to Tour Years! There is A LOT of prep that needs to go in so of course stress. chaos, the norm. I love it though. All that chaos is brought out in the form of music and performance. You saw we performed at Carnegie Hall right? The acoustics, Lindsay........I am sorry to say but it beat the sound in the St. Louis Cathedral when we performed in New Orleans"
Lindsay : " How did you feel performing on that stage?"
Galvicius : " At peace. I looked at those kids and have never been more proud of their hard work.......I am always proud of my students but you know the feeling. You know when you finish that big piece and once my hands go down and that piano stops you can just breathe. That feeling. Very powerful"
Me : " You mean a moment where "G" is relaxed? That's shocking"
Galvicius : " Hey you survived! I have hope for the other students"
NEW YORK 2017
New York images provided by Alexis Rosian
Positive Challenges, self growth, and having a teacher who believes in his students will shape them to Love strongly. Embrace their unique personalities and to see the world with vibrance. I am grateful for these incredibly departments and really hope society will view the importance to keep them in schools.
This was a project I was honored to be apart of! Thank you to the ladies involved in The Value of the Arts project, Derek Galvicius and McHenry High School students for allowing me to listen and interview you all. You guys blew me away and of course the videos and images do not do you guys justice. Congrats on a fulfilled year in New York and your Performances throughout! Good luck to the seniors graduating and to those just joining MAKE YOUR 4 YEARS WORTH IT. Be adventurous. Step outside your comfort zone and above all Learn something!