By Tim Kalinowski
Prairie Rose School Division put on its colourful and wonderfully entertaining annual Kaleidoscope Festival of the Fine Arts at the Esplanade in Medicine Hat on Friday. The event brought together students from schools throughout southeast Alberta to put on a fantastic display of local musical and creative talent at three different concerts throughout the day, as well as showcasing the art work of many PRSD students in the Esplanade lobby.
The festival is the product of a lot of hard work by PRSD faculty, staff, students and the volunteer festival committee to carry off, work that starts off right at the beginning of the school year. By the time the performances get to main stage at the Esplanade in June the students are polished and eager to show off their months of intense practice and effort.
Ann Morrison, chair of the PRSD Kaleidoscope Festival committee, says the lessons the students learn along the way are invaluable.
“Kaleidoscope gives exceptional opportunity for the students in Prairie Rose to be able to showcase their abilities in fine arts, whether it’s music, dance, drama or art. It allows them to work out of the best possible venue in Medicine Hat. And it gives them something to work toward all year.”
Staff and faculty, too, see the benefits in a distinctive way.
“It gives us a chance to find out what’s happening in other schools in Prairie Rose,” explains Morrison, who is herself a music teacher at Eagle Butte High School. “We are spread out distance-wise, but we are definitely connected and support one another. Putting on a festival like this is the best kind of professional development where the students get a real benefit from it.”
Morrison says the festival is an outstanding experience for everyone involved, and most especially for audience members, the parents, local residents and the students themselves, who watch and cheer on the participants from the various schools.
“Kaleidoscope really shows how much Prairie Rose supports the arts,” she says. “Being a rural division, I think sometimes there is a perception out there that our students don’t have the same opportunities as larger centres. Something like this is an opportunity that other school divisions just don’t have.”