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CA Curious

A Taste of the Arts

October 5, 2023

You’ve seen the emails. Maybe you’ve purchased tickets for a show. Perhaps you’ve visited the silent auction and checked out the raffle item. But what is A Taste of the Arts?

Our fall community-building events have one primary goal: to foster a sense of connection amongst our families, students, employees, and community partners. That might be created through a reception, or a community game night, or perhaps, as it is this year, through an arts showcase (or should I say extravaganza?).

When we first began brainstorming a dinner theater, our eyes immediately became bigger than our stomachs (pun intended!). We quickly realized we couldn’t stop with a stage performance. There were too many other artistic talents in our midst! What about our pianists? Our string students, dancers, visual artists, and our behind-the-scenes arts technicians?

More than a mere taste, we quickly found ourselves looking at a Thanksgiving Feast of the Arts—an endeavor both exhilarating and daunting.

However, thanks to the remarkable creative vision of Glen Matthews and his team, we found ways to bring this vision to life. Weaving together the incredible talents of our students, the generosity of our parents and our alumni, and the extraordinary effort of employees, the Taste of the Arts is a 4-night showstopping showcase. More than that, however, it is a testament to our amazing community—to our many talents, the strength of our connection to each other, and to CA’s mission.

Imagine it. Walking up, you are greeted with a giant Charger puppet. Yes, you read that correctly: a puppet. Too tall to bring inside, it dances across the Quad welcoming you, up the red carpet, to a magical evening.

When you enter Berger Hall, your eyes need time to adjust. Do you direct your attention to the walls adorned with original pieces of work created by our students? Or to the baskets up for auction, created with time and love by groups of parents from each grade? Perhaps, instead, you check in, chatting with friends, as music floats around you (possibly even played by a group of talented young people).

While you wait for your party to arrive, you peruse the auction table and look over the details of our featured raffle. A $20,000 trip to France? Your mind whirls at the possibilities. Yes, please!

As you picture yourself in Paris, maybe you wander towards the balcony. What’s that? Scarf dancers? Yes! It is. Performing before dinner on Friday and Saturday, these performers stretch your imagination as they glide through the space below.

Bringing you back to reality, a student donned in a Taste of the Arts t-shirt—perhaps one of our many performers or theater technicians (be sure to ask!)—shares news that the doors have opened. It is time for dinner.

You make your way down the steps of the theater to your seat. But wait! You aren’t sitting in the audience, are you? No. You go up to the stage where tables are set up all around…another stage? Yes. Another one! Built on top of this one.

Settling into your seat, you take in the view, noticing the flowers (ahem…handmade by our students). You greet your tablemates. Perhaps you’re next to a parent who helped with costumes. You might have

an alum, who has returned to campus after missing out on art performances during the pandemic. Or maybe you brought a full table of guests to support someone, on stage or behind the scenes.

Returning from the buffet, you notice your placemat, featuring the names and logos of so many businesses who have helped make this performance possible. (Don’t worry—it’s okay if you spill on your friends’ business logo! We have new placemats for each night.)

After dinner and dessert, as our talented pianists play, you find yourself relaxing. The lights dim and figures appear on the stage. As the lights come up, you pause. The faces you see – why, it’s the same faces of those who helped you to your seat and bussed your table! How did they get up there so fast? As soon as they start to sing, you are immediately lost in the show.

At the end of the night, you’ll go home full—not just from the delicious food, but from the creativity and talents of this community. You’ll overflow with appreciation, not only for the magic of the final event, but for the months of creativity, collaboration, and innovation that took to bring it to fruition—for a truly mission-driven, beautiful taste of all the arts here at Cary Academy.

So, I must express my deep appreciation to everyone in this community who gave of themselves and pulled together to make this magical event happen.

(Bummed you missed out on an incredible evening? You still have a chance! Limited first-come, first-served tickets are still available for our Friday performance.)

Written by Ali Page, Director of Development

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Student’s voice earns national recognition

October 21, 2021

Congratulations to Corinne Laurey (’25) for earning a National Gold Medal for voice from the  Royal Conservatory of Music! Laurey participated in the competition, held virtually over the summer.

“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, but I really got serious in 6th grade. Music allows me to express myself and be in the moment,” beams Laurey.

“It’s really an honor to receive this Gold Medal,” shared Laurey, who plays piano in addition to vocal performances. “Music runs in my family – my mom participated in the RCM competitions when she was a child.”

The award will be presented to Laurey and the other U.S. and Canadian honorees in January 2022.

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CA musicians start 2021 on a high note

January 14, 2021

This past week, Marvin Koonce ‘21 joined the “best of the best” for the National Association for Music Education 2020 All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE) Virtual Event, January 7–8, 2021 as the top high school jazz pianist in the nation. The first ever All-National Honor Ensembles virtual event included several rehearsals with Todd Stoll and Terell Stafford, and workshops with renowned clinicians. The recording of the jazz ensemble’s final performance will premiere online in March 2021.

At the district level, six Cary Academy students were selected for the NC Bandmasters Association All-District Ensembles this year, with several 1st or 2nd alternates, and two students who are All-State Honors Band Audition Eligible. Notably, three Middle School students are included in the selection. As Mr. Turner says, “they are already doing BIG things despite starting their Band journey during COVID.”

Selected Ensemble Members from CA:

MS Symphonic Band

  • Kenna Zhang ’26 – 12th Chair Clarinet

MS Concert Band

  • Liliana Yi ’26 – 1st Chair Flute
  • Allen Li ’26 – 2nd Chair Flute

9-10 Wind Ensemble

  • Max Li ’23 – 5th Chair Clarinet **All State Eligible**
  • Ian Fan ’24 – 16th Chair Clarinet

11-12 Wind Ensemble

  • Abby Li ’22 – 3rd Chair Flute **All State Eligible**

Students in the Top 5 Alternate List for their respective Ensembles

Ethan Chou ’22, William Coley ’22, Brianna Laing ’23, Arran Swift ’23, Angelika Wang ’24, and Arran Swift ’23

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CA Bands finish out the year on a high note

June 12, 2020

Three CA students not only made the 2020 NC Music Educators Association All State Band and All State Jazz ensembles but earned the top chairs for their instrument in each of the bands.

The outstanding musicians receiving these honors: Marvin Koonce ’21 – Piano for All-State High School Jazz, Abby Li ’22 – 1st Chair Flute for All-State Honors Band, and Luke Ramee ’24 – 1st Chair Trombone for All-State Middle School Jazz. Koonce and Li have applied for the 2020 All-National Ensemble which will happen in Florida during the fall. Li was also awarded a chair placement in the All-State Orchestra ensemble, also set to happen in the fall.

To celebrate their achievements, Director of Bands Lester Turner delivered yard signs to CA’s All State Band members.

In addition, Mr. Turner has shared two tunes the students worked up over final trimester of 2019-20, to brighten our week and hold us over, while we wait for their next concert.  As Mr. Turner explains, “performing for friends and family is a big part of the Band experience and we will have to hold off on that for some time yet.  These videos though will be able to be sent out to the students’ contacts virtually and share a little of what they have been doing.”

Midle School 7th and 8th grade band performing Skygazer by Randall Standridge:

Upper School Wind Ensemble performing Brave Spirit by Randall Standridge:

Both are by Randall Standridge, who has been kind enough to allow his works to be performed freely virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

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CA students play for state and national orchestra honors

November 12, 2019

Last week, three CA students played for national and state orchestral honors.

Violinist Jessica Zhong ’20 performed in the All-National Honor Orchestra Ensembles (ANHE). Organized by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), ANHE features the top-performing high school musicians in the United States. In the final audition, Zhong won the principal chair in the 2nd violin section. She is the third CA student musician to perform in the ANHE.

Working under the leadership of top conductors in the field of music education: Soo Han, the Director of Orchestral Activities at The Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, rehearsals began on Thursday, November 7, with a concert on Sunday, November 10, in Orlando, Florida.

Closer to home, violinist Sophia Liu ’22 and flautist Abby Li ’22 performed in the North Carolina Honors Orchestra, on November 10, Winston-Salem, NC, under the direction of Douglas Droste, the Artistic Director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestras at Ball State University, and Conductor of the Music for All Summer Symposium Youth Orchestra. Liu made 4th chair of the first violin section.

Congratulations to these outstanding young musicians!

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