WINNSBORO — Little orphan Annie is making a visit to Winnsboro at 6:30 p.m. Thursday thanks to the dedicated efforts of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Fairfield County School District’s Artsworks Program.
In addition to excerpts from Annie, a play currently on Broadway, the students will do their traditional “No Business Like Show Business” opener and conclude with “New York, New York.”
The performance in the Fairfield Central High School auditorium is free to the public. Prior to the musical numbers, an arts show will be at 6 p.m. in the lobby. The art show features sculptures, paintings, paper mache masks, posters and more, all with New York or “Annie” themes.
For the 16thsummer, area students who qualified as gifted and talented participated in Artworks enrichment activities at Fairfield Central High School.
This year, due to limited funding, the camp was shortened to just two weeks, but the students attended three Saturday sessions leading up to the June event. Third-grade students auditioned in areas of drama, dance, music and visual arts. Only third graders can audition but fourth-graders and fifth-graders have the option to attend as alumni, space permitting.
The fourth and fifth grade alumni receive leadership roles, such as leading some sessions and helping teach choreography. This year 76 children attended. Each child paid $25, which included a modest supplies fee for the two weeks and a T-shirt. Auditions are limited to third-graders due to the state funding requirements for the program.
During the first week of the class, dancer and actress Joy Jacobs attended as artist-in-residence as she did last year.
Julieanne Neal, Fairfield Central High School coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts, is director of Artsworks and is assisted by other area school district teachers and by Dr. Janet Mason, school district consultant and long time arts supporter. Mason serves as assistant director.
Other faculty are teachers from schools throughout the Fairfield County School District.
Drama and dance practice sessions were no nonsense affairs with dancers/actors having to do push ups if they talked out of turn or if they as a group were sloppy with technique.
The structured program provided an artistic immersion experience for the children, one that art teacher Kimi Daly with the Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science hopes they can carry home with them, particularly with the sculpture component where children made recycled relief structures of a New York City skyline.
“We call it trash-treasures,” Daly said. “I started wrapping presents in the third grade and got good at it, so when I started teaching art classes I began using old boxes and construction paper to wrap them and create sculpture at a low cost using items that children would have around their homes anyway.”
Some of the sculptures were shown at Arts on the Ridge this year.
Though she is passionate about all of the arts, Mason became even more excited when discussing the theatre, dance and music performance with the “Annie” excerpt, “New York, New York” and the opening piece she choreographed 16 years ago.
“It is remarkable that these third-, fourth- and fifth-graders can learn so much in such a short period of time and a testament to (their hard work and also to our dedicated staff),” she said. “Fortunately, we were able to use the FCHS auditorium again this year. Lighting renovations were scheduled there but they do not begin until July.”
When the lights come on this year, Kayla Pickett will sing as “Annie.” The dancers will perform to a few songs and the singers will sing a few, with the groups combining for at least one “Annie” song.