Norwood Celebrates First In-person School Event

By Grace Mersch

April 27, 2021

The Norwood Fine Arts Festival was held at the high school on April 18, signaling a semi-return to normal school events and activities.

The event included performances by the school choir, band and orchestra, and also featured a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the front lawn of the high school.

After most school activities being shut down for the past year, this occasion marks the first school-wide event since the pandemic began; however, things were a bit different this year.

COVID protocols were still in place, and guests were encouraged to remain socially distant and wear masks. The choir and orchestra performed from behind masks, and each member of the band was seated a few feet apart.

Instead of the district-wide artworks being displayed in the high school and middle school, this year only 9th through 12th graders participated, and the event mainly took place on the first floor of the high school. 

Though some might believe the protocols put a damper on the celebration, the artwork didn’t suffer as a result of the pandemic. From oil pastel drawings of lines to etchings of animals to photographs of family, the festival still displayed some of the best talent the school has to offer. It even was a way for students to express their emotions during the pandemic.

The fine arts seniors, who have had their entire senior year altered to adhere to COVID guidelines, are especially proud to have their senior displays. One of these students is senior Lily Harlow, an AP Art student who also played Titania and Hippolyta in the school play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Harlow has had their art displayed in the Fine Arts Festival for all four years, and they were proud to be able to showcase some of their best work in their senior display. In this display is a portrait drawing, the same one that won them a Best In Show award two years ago. 

Senior Caroline Kelley took home first place in the Senior Portfolio competition with her painting and mosaic works.

Besides the changes to the festival itself, there was one unusual aspect to the celebration: the school play. This is the first year for the school play to be performed on the front lawn during the Fine Arts Festival.

Despite being performed in a different setting, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a success. Props and set were minimal, but costumes and audience inclusion made up the difference.

Harlow says this production was “a lot less technical” than the usual performances, yet they said it was “just as fun.”

“You get to make your own interpretation of Shakespeare,” Harlow says. “The setting, the props used, the way the words are projected — it all allows you to make your own interpretation of what it means.”

Being able to make your own interpretation means everyone can watch the performance and get something out of it, meaning everyone in the audience can enjoy it.

Though the Fine Arts Festival was not exactly how it was in recent years, students were still able to celebrate their talents during a pandemic. This celebration was a good way to introduce some of the community’s favorite school events back into their lives.