SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The students and staff at Holy Savior Academy, a pre-K3 through eighth grade AdvancedED accredited Middlebrook Deanery Catholic School located in South Plainfield, have been busy gearing up for two widely anticipated spring events. In May, the drama club will present its 4th annual Spring Spectacular Musical and a school wide art show will also take place. 

This year, Holy Savior Academy will present The Sound of Music at 7 p.m. on both Thursday, May 3 and Friday, May 4. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the door. The one-act production of The Sound of Music will run approximately 90 minutes.

The Sound of Music is a classic of American musical theater. It’s a story that all our students are familiar with, and they love the songs, so it’s a perfect fit for our school,” said Susan Loughlin,music teacher at Holy Savior and musical director of the school’s spring production.  “This production is a great way to bring all four of the art standards– music, dance, drama, and art – together in one show.”

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Auditions for The Sound of Music were held in January and rehearsals began the following month. Among the cast and crew are 65 students in third through eighth grade. The cast includes eighth graders Jamie Metz as ‘Maria,’ Nick Robertson as ‘Captain von Trapp’,’ Kaila Barnes as ‘Mother Abbess,’ and Skylar Talley as ‘Liesl.’ Additionally, Max Corry (fifth grade) will star as ‘Friedrich,’ Ava Waldron (sixth grade) as ‘Louisa,’ James Katsingris (4th grade) as ‘Kurt,’ Emma Figueiredo (fourth grade) as ‘Brigitta,’ Ashley Mont (fourth grade) as ‘Marta,’ Megan Gaffney (third grade) as ‘Gretl,’ and Jackson Gaffney (eighth grade) as ‘Rolf.’

“The students have been working extremely hard, and the way the big song and dance numbers are coming together is very exciting for all of us,” said Loughlin. “I am very proud of all the children.

This year’s production also features assistance from enrichment teacher Eva Tripodi as technical director and fifth grade teacher science and math teacher Daneile Micale as stage director as well as support from Principal Carol Woodburn and numerous Drama Club parents and alumni, including parent coordinator Debbie Metz who is in charge of costumes and set. 

“I want to thank everyone who is working behind the scenes to provide our students and staff with everything we need, from selling T-shirts, printing programs, organizing costumes, and selling tickets,” said Loughlin, adding that Holy Savior’s spring musical is a ‘great way to bring the community and school community together.’ 

“Having the students involved in musical theater is a wonderful way to get children from all different grade levels working together, and a musical incorporates singing, dancing, acting, even art, as our students paint their own sets. It also exposes the children to theater, which is something they may not otherwise get to experience,” said Loughlin, adding, “Seeing students working together for a common goal, and achieving great results is such a positive experience. All who attend this production will see the end results of over three months of amazing dedication by our students.”

The arts will also be the focus of Holy Savior’s 2018 art show. Taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18, the show will feature the works of students in all grades as well as projects created by members of the school’s arts and crafts club. 

Our art show has been a year in the making and we will be displaying [class] projects from as early as September as well as items that members of our art club started working on in January,” said Sara Holbrook, art teacher at Holy Savior and moderator of the school’s arts and crafts club. 

Holbrook, a native of South Plainfield and teacher at HSA for the past three years, prides herself of giving ‘students a variety of projects’ throughout the year. In September, the eighth graders created papier-mâché sculptures of their initial and, right before Easter break, the students finished an oil pastel drawing of a mannequin. “They both turned out great and it really highlighted the way some students are more engaged with 3D work, while others find their passion in drawing,” Holbrook said. 

At Holy Savior, according to Holbrook, the focus of art class stems beyond creating colorful masterpieces. “We also delve into art history. The fourth grade learned how to paint in the style of Vincent Van Gogh and created an autumn pumpkin scene with a ‘starry night’ background.  It’s impressive to see the way students can adopt famous techniques in their own work,” she said, adding that even the kindergartners refer to the past for inspiration.

“We recently learned about the cave paintings in Lascaux, France. After reading a story together and discussing the different kinds of pictures these people painted on their cave walls, we all sat on the floor around a big piece of craft roll and drew like we were the people of Lascaux,” said Holbrook. “We added color with paint in the same types of colors they used, then “signed” our work the way the artists of the cave signed their- with our handprints.”

She added, “I love giving students an outlet for their imagination and energy, while helping them build their problem solving skills. Art is fun and messy, but still teaches important skills and lessons.”

For those with a keen interest in art, Holy Savior offers a monthly after school club run by Holbrook and Micale. While the students in first through third grade create various crafts, the focus for those in grades four through eight is on longer, more in depth projects. This past year, the younger students have created snowmen out of socks, rice, and fabric and celebrated Valentine's Day with heart shaped animal cards. This year, the older students have made life-size Keith Haring figures using paint and paper and are currently working on life-sized statues of themselves using only packing tape. These works, along with their Dale Chihuly inspired sculptures, will be on display at the art show, which will be held Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Students have been so excited creating their masterpieces all year and all the students have put a lot of effort – and passion – into their art work and it shows. We explored a lot of different things this year and even if they didn't always turn out how we originally pictured, they turned out pretty cool,” said Holbrook, adding, “We have been blessed with wonderful and creative students at HSA and it’s a blast to watch our young artists grow. Let us share that energy- come see the artwork these students are so proud of.”

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