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Kuemmel's Corner: The excellence of fine arts

During the past few weeks I had the chance to witness the talented students we have in the fine arts. Our One-Act Play competed in sections and had to compete against some very talented schools, including East Ridge and Woodbury.

This year the directors picked the play The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The play is set in a courtroom in purgatory, where Judas's defense attorney tries to spring her client from hell.

The play uses flashbacks to an imagined childhood and lawyers who call for the testimonies of such witnesses as Mother Teresa, Caiaphas, Saint Monica, Sigmund Freud, and Satan. It was great to see our student-actors challenging themselves in these roles.

This year's play took second place in the section competition (losing to Eagan by one point). While this means they did not advance to the state festival, the entire cast and crew did a phenomenal job.

The state festival is less of a competition and more of a chance for schools to showcase their work. Our one-act play has gone to state in thirteen out of the last twenty-three years.

They have earned a "starred performance" (or highest rating) in eleven of those years. Our directors do great work every year.

I also got to listen to our band, choir, and orchestra students perform in the SEC Music Festival. Park had the the opportunity to host this all-day event a few years ago. The Music Festival is comprised of two parts: the day-time performances and the evening Grand Finale Concert.

Day concerts are presented by the individual SEC schools' bands, choirs, and orchestras. The second and concluding portion of the Festival is the Grand Finale Concert. It is comprised of the three SEC All-Conference performing ensembles under the direction of local and national clinicians.

The All-Conference Orchestra, Band, and Choir are selected by the directors to represent the finest music students in the nine conference schools. This recognition is similar to the All-Conference honors bestowed on our athletes.

Congratulations to the Park students who were selected for this honor and participated in the traditional finale for the concert: a joint performance featuring all three groups in a dramatic arrangement of "America the Beautiful. I continue to be amazed at the talented students we have here at Park — in the classroom, in athletics, and in our fine arts and activities.