Showcase will display MFL MarMac’s fine arts talent

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A duet between Max Koeller and Shelby Martin will be one of the featured performances during the MFL MarMac Friends of the Arts Dessert Showcase. The event will be held in the high school auditorium, in Monona, on Sunday, April 14, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The MFL MarMac Friends of the Arts will host a dessert showcase this Sunday, April 14, giving the public an opportunity to view some of the high school’s top fine arts talent. The event will be held in the high school auditorium, in Monona, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. 

For a small fee, attendees can savor a piece of cheesecake or gluten free chocolate cake, plus a drink, all while enjoying some of the school’s best individual speech performances and top-rated instrumental and vocal solos and ensembles. Senior artwork will also be exhibited from 2 to 7 p.m., highlighting the students’ years of learning and experimentation across media, exploration of social, political and cultural issues, as well as personal inquiry.

Freshman Haylee Guyer, who was an all-state speech participant in the radio news announcing category, will emcee the event.

The Friends of the Arts held the dessert showcase for the first time last year, as a fundraiser, said speech coach Angie Killian.

“We were brainstorming at a meeting,” recalled choral director Jaydeane Berns. “We’d both had really successful years and we thought it would be a way to showcase the kids’ performances.”

Unlike athletes, whose talents are visibly displayed on the field or court, Killian said her speech students’ pieces are rarely heard by the public. 

“I want them to be seen by people in the community, to let that talent be shown,” she stated.

Berns said it’s much the same for the music students’ solo and ensemble contest performances.

“Unless it’s a parent, people don’t attend the same way they would a concert,” she noted. “This shares the skills of the individual.”

Killian said fine arts are important at MFL MarMac. Out of roughly 200 students in the high school, she estimates half participate in speech, debate, band, choir, art or—quite often—a combination of the activities. The programs feed off one another, inspiring the kids to participate and developing students’ skills in a variety of ways.

For example, when helping speech students practice, Killian said she references music, particularly the importance of inflection in the voice.

“You have to make your voice go up and down like music notes,” she explained. “There are times to get louder and times to get softer.”

Berns said experience in speech helps her music students better understand which words should be stressed when singing. They also have better diction.

In addition, every show choir performance or solo/ensemble piece requires a spoken introduction. 

“It’s nice because I have so many kids with speech skills,” she remarked.

Through fine arts, Berns said participants learn about professionalism, leadership and teamwork. They also learn how to listen.

“You have to listen louder than you sing,” she stressed. “Ask yourself, ‘Can I hear all the parts? Are we blending?’”

Most importantly, though, the students gain confidence.

“It takes a lot for the kids to go out there independently, to perform in front of a big audience,” said Killian.

By attending the dessert showcase, people can support these programs and their efforts to develop students’ lifelong skills, Killian shared. Money raised will go into the Friends of the Arts account, which the fine arts teachers and advisers can request funds from to support their programs.

Killian said the MFL MarMac Friends of the Arts organization is also seeking more volunteers, and they’d love to have more parents or interested community members attend meetings and share ideas. To learn more about how you can get involved, email Killian at angie.killian@mflmm.k12.ia.us or Berns at jaydeane.berns@mflmm.k12.ia.us.

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