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Friday, April 12, 2024
The Observer


Saint Mary’s performance arts departments host ‘Spring Back’ inclusivity event

On Monday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saint Mary’s departments of art came together to host an event called “Spring Back: A Celebration of Belonging” as a way of encouraging students to appreciate the arts. 

Sponsored by the departments of art, music, theatre, dance and communication studies, the “Spring Back” was open to all students in the tri-campus. The event featured desserts, hot cocoa, bracelet and button making, as well as vocal, theatrical and instrumental performances. At the end of the event, sociology professor Kelly Faust taught a dance number to those in attendance. 

Theater professor and division director for performance arts and communication studies Mark Abram-Copenhaver helped coordinate the event with the hope of encouraging more students to enjoy and become more involved in the arts.

Abram-Copenhaver said the department noticed a division and disconnect on campus earlier in the spring semester and decided there needed to be an event to bring the community together to emphasize and remind others of being in a community.  

“One of the things that is true about the arts is that it throws its arms open wide, and it invites everyone to participate. It’s one of the things I love about the arts, and it’s one of the things my colleagues love about being artists and working with artists,” Abram-Copenhaver said. 

Abram-Copenhaver cited the several types of introductory classes in the performance arts and communication studies department that are meant to invite all students, regardless of experience, to take and find a place of belonging within the arts.

“This building has lots and lots of opportunities for you to be able to participate,” he said. “You do not have to be defining yourself as a dancer or a singer or a musician or an actor. We will take you in. We have opportunities for everybody.”

Senior Maeve Kearney, a music education major, performed a vocal piece for the event. Kearney said she believes the arts creates an irreplaceable community for herself. 

“Once you’re involved, you meet the most wonderful people,” Kearney said. “You find that community that really only exists in the arts … because the arts are so vulnerable,” she said.

Kearney believes this event could be the start to opening the arts community to the wider range of the Saint Mary’s community and bridge the gap between the two. 

“We haven’t really had a lot of events like this before, and I think it’s a good starter … at Saint Mary’s that we all know that we can intertwine theater, art, dance — all of these things — and build a community that exists on purpose,” Kearney said. 

Sophomore Delaney Nold and senior Natalie Biegel each performed a solo and then a duet together from Saint Mary’s upcoming performance, “Anne of Green Gables.” These three performances all came from different sections of the musical. 

The directors of Green Gables asked Nold and Beigel to prepare these selections in order to advertise their musical, which is on track to showcase April 12 through 14. 

“I think communication and representation are really important, and I think that music and the arts are a beautiful way to express themselves,” Nold said.