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With GHS Construction Looming, Fine Arts Programs Are At Risk

IMG_1730 (1)Concept art for post-reconstruction GHS.  (Photo Credid: Will Benoit)

     With the end of the 2016-17 school year, the scheduled reconstruction of more than 70% of Gresham High School is only a year away.  During the first phase of reconstruction, many of the Fine Arts classes, Including Band, Drama, and Choir, will be relocated.

    This relocation has the potential to severely interfere with the quality of these programs, particularly Band, Choir, and Drama.  The spaces these 3 classes take place in are built specifically for rehearsals.  The band and choir rooms have acoustical panels to provide a better sound, and the Drama department’s Auditorium, of course, has its famous stage.  Without these spaces, these programs will have a hard time preparing for extracurricular performances and competitions.

    “It’ll be difficult to work around not having an Auditorium to rehearse in”, says Abraham Baltazar, A Senior in Drama, in regards to their ability to rehearse and perform their annual shows.

Currently, there are plans to relocate the Fine Arts classes to the opposite end of  the school, utilizing the gym spaces for rehearsals.  While this isn’t set in stone, this raises quite a few red flags.  Band and Choir rehearsals in these spaces, while possible, will be extremely difficult.  The loud, echoey acoustics of both the main and auxiliary gyms will make it nigh-impossible to fine-tune their ensembles to the quality put on display in years’ past.

    “Unless we can find a suitable place to meet, we’re going to have a hard time”, Janine Kirstein, the Choir Director, says. “I’m not worried about the concert venue, since we can have them somewhere else, but I am worried about our ability to have rehearsals and sectionals”, she adds.

    Garrett Henkle, a Senior in the Band department, validated the concerns of Baltazar and Kirstein.

    “If we can’t find adequate rehearsal spaces, there may be some trouble down the line”, Henkle states.

    The Concert Choir and Overtones are coming off of a good season, with Concert Choir placing 5th at the OSAA State Choir Competition and Overtones winning four awards and distinctions at the Worldstrides Heritage Festival in San Jose, California.   Drama has also had a good year, with their Large Group Musical performance placing 1st in State.

    The new spaces are scheduled to be ready for use by the 2019-2020 school year.  All Choir, Band, and Drama classes will be relocated during the 2018-2019 school year.

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