Category Archives: Arts

A New Twist on The Tempest

It starts with a storm, but this wasn’t a regular tempest, as Ridley Theatre presented their own twist on Shakespeare’s final play The Tempest, with three performances held in the Mandeville Theatre.

This version of the play takes place far away from the setting of the original, an unnamed island in the Mediterranean, Ridley’s Tempest takes place in turn-of-the-century Nova Scotia. Enhancing this setting is the use of traditional maritime music and sea shanties. The play opens with a stirring rendition “Barrett’s Privateers” by Stan Rogers.

“It’s been fantastic, the kids are amazing, we’re so fortunate at Ridley to have such talent,” says Mrs. Gillian Fournier, who is volunteering her time as a director, while on maternity leave.

This Canadian connection to the show and Shakespeare, makes it more relative to our history, and the audience, according to Mr. Andrew Hitchcox, one of the shows three directors. Especially relevant are the aspects of the play tackling colonization, the arrival of the shipwrecked survivors to the island, and Prospero’s subjugation of Caliban, the island’s original inhabitant.

This production held no auditions, everyone who wanted to be involved in the play got to be a part of it. For many students it was their first experience in theatre. Only nine  of the 19 cast members speak English as their first language. Cast members come from 10 different countries.

“I would never have imagined myself learning Shakespeare let alone performing it and not being terrible. I learned that even though things are new to me, I should always be open and confident in seeing myself succeed in every new challenge I face,” says Obianuju Nwadike ‘17, who plays Prospero, the play’s main antagonist.

The students took a leadership role in the production, including music, lighting. “We give them the skills to be able to do the show,” says Mrs. Anna Blagona, director and Head of English & Drama.

All of the choices and depictions of the characters were up to the student actors. This resulted in some roles being gender-swapped, including the main character of Prospero, played by Obianuju. “I enjoy my character a lot. She switches moods/feelings when conversing with other characters and It’s really exciting to explore multiple dimensions of my character,” says Obianuju.

Ridley’s Troupe 7774 is part of the International Thespian Society (ITS), which was founded in 1929. It is an honorary organization for high school and middle school theatre students located at more than 4,200 affiliated secondary schools across Canada, the United States, and abroad. The mission of ITS is to honour student achievement in the theatre arts.

Missed the performance? Login to TigerNet Live to watch it on demand.

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Students Think Big at Annual Model U.N. Conference

During the February long weekend, a group of students, along with their supervisors, travelled to Washington, D.C. for the 54th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations, hosted by Georgetown University‘s International Relations Association. This annual trip is an opportunity for our Ridleians to gain experience, develop research and thinking skills, and engage in great discussions about current global issues.

With over 160 schools and 3,500 students from around the world present, this event is a superb opportunity for students to network with peers. The Ridley College Model United Nations team – made up of Ridley’s model U.N., politics and debating clubs – was comprised of students from seven countries; adding to the diversity of the prestigious experience.

  

In addition to the debates and discussions that took place at the Model U.N. Conference, the students had the opportunity to listen and engage with experts on topics within international relations. One of the highlights was Retired Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, Thomas Countryman’s keynote address.

While in D.C., our students were able to explore Washington’s vast cultural and political offerings – from the African American Museum of Culture and History to the Lithuanian Embassy.

“Reflecting on my weekend in D.C., I will have a lifetime of memories with friends, teachers and new friends I’ll never forget. I have learned exactly the format of real UN Conferences and now create awareness for new issues and resolutions discussed around the world through different conferences. My collaboration skills improve year by year through these experiences, and will definitely continue to only get better in the future.” – Bart Scala ‘19

“The MUN to trip to D.C. was a wonderful experience. That was my first time visiting the USA and I really enjoyed it. I had the chance learn about US and also take part in MUN and improve myself.” – Alp Sagra ‘18

“I got to know more about United Nations and different people. I went to Washington for the first time.  This was a great experience. I learned a lot and MUN indeed expanded my horizon.” – Nicole Liu ’19

The Speaking Arts at Ridley continue to thrive, thanks to the support of parents, faculty and of course, the W. Darcy McKeough ’51 Fund. The importance placed on debating, public speaking and active global commitment engages students and student interest has grown, year after year. This year’s Model U.N. Conference trip was a chance for our Speaking Arts students to further instill a love for this co-curricular, while contributing to the wider community.

Musicians Come Together for Annual String Fling

Melodic notes filled the halls of Ridley College last week, for the second annual Spring Fling workshop and concert. Young string musicians from Ridley and the local community joined together for workshops on both February 2nd and 3rd, and performed a spectacular performance to conclude the event.

The workshops – led by special guests, Dr. Metro Kozak and the Walker String Quartet – were an opportunity for the students to synchronize, while preparing for the Friday night concert. Each session was specialized for the group of students participating and which ensemble they were a member of: String Fling Orchestra, String Fling Quartet, Chamber Orchestra or Junior Chamber Strings.

After an enlightening two days of musical training, the students were ready to showcase their talents during a performance in the Mandeville Theatre. Over 60 students who filled the stage had the chance to play alongside professional string musicians and workshop mentors, The Walker String Quartet. Ten songs were performed; ranging from historic pieces by Mozart, to cinematic songs from major motion pictures. Our special guest, Dr. Metro Kozak led the students gracefully through each piece as their conductor, while the audience remained captivated in their seats.

“The students at Ridley were very open to new concepts and were cooperative. Many of them were relatively new to their instruments and made terrific strides in their abilities. All in all, an exciting event.” – Dr. Metro Kozak

This musical experience gave our students a chance to bond with individuals from our local community, while learning from professionals. It was also a wonderful opportunity for our Lower School students to collaborate with students from the Upper School.

Ridley’s dedication to the arts is ever growing. There are endless opportunities for students to expand their artistic education. These opportunities don’t end when school is out, nor are they limited to Ridley students. Our Summer Programmes offer a wonderful opportunity for art exploration of all kinds.

This summer, students who are interested in learning more about music can register for the Summer Symphony Boarding Experience at Ridley. This is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your musical skills, make friends and explore the Niagara region! For more information, visit our website.

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TransfORming Our Globe – Bethany Pile ‘12

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Bethany Pile ‘12, who has found her passion and is now establishing herself as an artist, first locally and then internationally.

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Bethany began her Ridley career in 2010. She took full advantage of the many different opportunities the school had to offer. Bethany was a member of the swim team; traveling to the OFFSA championships twice. She was a school Prefect in her final year; displaying leadership and acting as a role model for the younger students. Embodying the school motto, Terar Dum Prosim, Bethany also traveled to Jamaica twice with the volunteer programme.

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During her first year at Ridley, Bethany was awarded the Barbados National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Prime Minister’s scholarship for demonstrating “the greatest potential for training and development in [her] discipline”. This, in turn, paid for the first two years of her schooling at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where she graduated with a degree in Visual Studies and minors in Psychology and Art History. During her summers, Bethany’s commissioned works were garnering attention in her home country of Barbados. As a result, Bethany moved back home and along with operating her own art practice, she began developing and producing murals for RC Designs & Decorations.

Bethany is often motivated when she sees her paintings come to life. With as much time as some of her pieces take, the thrill of finishing a piece makes it all worthwhile. Of course, listening to what others think and feel when presented with her art also keep Bethany motivated to continue her amazing works.

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‘Tracing Time’ by Bethany Pile
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‘Treacherously Sweet’ by Bethany Pile

I enjoy creating paintings that elicit powerful responses from people. I either paint in my studio with my music, thinking about inspirations for my next piece, or I am working with Rosalie, painting murals – which is a lot more of a social experience. Especially when we were painting a public mural for Barbados’ Independence! Lots of people came and said hello or commented on our work every day. Both aspects of my work complement each other well. – Bethany Pile ’12

Bethany cites Mr. Duane Nickerson as “one of the best art teachers” she has ever had and is someone who made a positive impact on her career path. According to Bethany, she produced some of her best work in Mr. Nickerson’s AP Art class.

“He saw what I was capable of and pushed me, and encouraged me to do better.” – Bethany Pile ’12

It was her experiences at Ridley that helped Bethany come to the realization that art should and would become her ultimate pursuit professionally.

To those beginning their next academic or professional journey, Bethany has a simple message: do what you love. In addition to capitalizing on something you are passionate about, she also suggests enrolling in a diverse set of classes as you begin university – “there is the opportunity to dabble in many subjects that can either streamline or completely change your career choice”. For Bethany, this solidified her decision to study art and become an artist. While her parents worried at times that she may soon embody the “starving artist”, it is clear Bethany has made significant steps towards her goal of becoming an internationally acclaimed artist.


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

Tigers Meet in Times Square 

On November 10th – 14th, 2016, two groups of Ridley students journeyed to New York City, where they would spend their weekend exploring the many different facets of the Big Apple. For 40 students, the trip was purely about taking in sights and sceneries, while another group of 30 Tigers set out to be artistically inspired. What was not on the itinerary was a serendipitous meeting in Times Square.

Our larger group of students represented Ridley well, as they wound their way through the many “musts” of New York. The students visited the Brooklyn Bridge, experience Fifth Avenue and strolled through Central Park – where they partook in the viral sensation known as the Mannequin Challenge. Some students also visited the new World Trade Centre site and Strawberry Fields.

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The other group – comprised of Grade 12 Visual Arts, Design Technology and Film students – hopped from one gallery to the next, as they explored the world of creation throughout the ages. Their stops included the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and even the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where they could appreciate traditional and modern masonry. While the focus of this group’s trip was to discover and explore creative expression, they too made time to visit some of New York City’s highlights, such as Times Square.

As the weekend progressed, both groups made time to visit one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, preparing themselves for the overwhelming experience that is Times Square. What they weren’t prepared for was running into their friends from home. Completely unplanned, both Ridley groups managed to find one another amongst the hustle and bustle of Midtown. It was a serendipitous moment that led one to feel that no matter where you may find yourself, a fellow Ridleian is never far away.

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On Monday, the students made their way back to campus, with many stories to tell their friends and families.

The weekend was an awe-inspiring one for all who were present. Each Tiger was able to explore the big city and discover something that spoke to them – be it a piece of history, a piece of art, or a piece of pizza.

Students Shine at Fulford Cup Debate

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Each year, the speaking arts at Ridley continues to grow, and with it, so do our students. With each debate, speech, or presentation, our Ridleians continue to develop the skills and confidence to succeed, while exploring and seeking answers to global issues. During the first debate of the year, our Ridleians put these very skills to the test,  and returned home with a trophy in hand.

On November 4th – 5th, Ridley students participated in the first Fulford Cup debate of the season, hosted by Lakefield College School. The Fulford League is comprised of 20 independent schools throughout Ontario, and a number of Fulford Cup debates occur each year. These events offer students the chance to meet, compete and grow with their peers, as the year progresses.

For this most recent debate, there were two prepared rounds on the topic of whether vaccinations should be mandatory, followed by an impromptu round on whether we should continue to fund space exploration.

Junior debaters, Bart Skala ‘19 (placed 6th individually) and Jared Sloan ‘19 (placed 8th individually) won the Fulford Cup with impressive performances, placing first overall as a team. This is the first time Ridley has won the Fulford League Bryan Jones Trophy since the 1999-2000 season.

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Seniors, Jack Richardson ‘17 (placed 4th individually) and Zane Gourzong ’18 (placed 18th individually) finished 5th as a team, in the challenging cross-examination category. This was the first competitive debate for Zane and an impressive start to his debate involvement. Jack demonstrated his experience by placing 4th overall, earning his second consecutive Fulford certificate. Our students represented Ridley well; demonstrating their dedication, talent and team work. The coaches, Andrew Leach, Sean MacPherson, and Paul O’Rourke are encouraged by the development of this year’s debate members and look forward to their next debate. The competitive calendar has just started and new students are always welcomed.

The Ridley Debating Society would like to take this time to acknowledge the generous support of W. Darcy McKeough ’51 and the W. Darcy McKeough ’51 Fund, which helps develop the speaking arts at Ridley – debate, public speaking, and model United Nations.

Want to support the speaking arts? The 2016 annual Upper School Public Speaking Competition will be held on Wednesday, November 30th, at 1:00p.m. in the Mandeville Theatre. We encourage all members of the Ridley community to attend this long standing Ridley tradition and cheer on the participants.

– Paul O’Rourke, MYP Coordinator, Department of Social Sciences (LS)

 

Students Explore the World of Visual Art on Annual Fieldtrip

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On Tuesday, October 18th, the Grade 9 Visual Arts classes ventured beyond the Marriott Gates, to explore visual arts in a new, interactive environment.

To begin their day, the students travelled to the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH). The AGH is Southwestern Ontario’s oldest and largest public art gallery, and contains over 10,000 works of art. During their morning visit, students explored the gallery’s collection with the help of their guides, and examined how artists employ composition strategies and perspective in a variety of media. Highlights of the tour included a special exhibit on the progression of sculpture since the French Baroque period, and Canadian abstraction.  Following the tour, students worked independently to develop a series of drawings and journal entries in their sketchbooks, connecting what they’ve learned during their visit, to their inclass studies.

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The afternoon was spent at the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC), where students explored drawing and painting en plein air. The weather was warm and sunny, and a blustery “breeze” kept us all on our toes! The fall foliage was at its peak, and students created observational drawing studies of leaves, and watercolor landscape paintings.

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Now that the students have returned to the classroom, they begin their unit assessment project, Perspective in the Landscape. Their recent field experiences and newfound knowledge of artistic techniques and media will aid them as they work toward completing their project.

– Katie Marrone, Department of Visual Arts

Ridley Theatre presents ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’

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This past weekend, Ridley Theatre presented The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht. The show included a diverse ensemble of 31 students from nine different countries, who showcased their talents as they acted, sang, and danced to re-tell the ancient Chinese parable of the chalk circle.

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Writing in the 1930s and 1940s, Brecht developed Epic Theatre, which aimed to illuminate social disease and critique sources of global conflict. Brecht believed that, “art is not a mirror with which to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” This production adopted Brechtian techniques of staging; for example, song was used to propel the narrative forward, characters were played by multiple actors, and stock gestures, known as gestus, were used to clarify character. Moments of suspense and tension were broken by comedy or das spass. In Brecht’s true form, these techniques allowed the actors to become story-tellers instead of re-livers of the character’s experiences, alienating audiences, and allowing them to think critically about the play’s big questions, while being entertained.

Over the past four months, our student actors trained tirelessly to develop proficiency in Brecht’s techniques. They also worked extensively with Kaeja d’Dance to use movement to illustrate moments within the chalk circle story. The students’ focus and dedication resulted in a performance that was captivating, yet thought-provoking.

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Although the curtain has closed, the skills fortified from day one of rehearsals will remain with the students as they go on to explore the world of theatre and beyond.

Ridley Theatre would like to thank the members of the Ridley community who came out to see the show! It is with great pleasure that we announce that a total of $733.00 was donated by our theatre patrons, all of which will be put toward the Ridley College Team Syria fund: a resource that will be used to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to live in Niagara. We would also like to thank our patrons for their non-perishable food donations for Community Care.

– Ms. Gillian Fournier, Department of English and Dramatic Arts

For a limited time, you can watch the recorded performance on TigerNet Live!

Student design competition produces the newest Ridley accessory

For more than 125 years, Ridleians have displayed their love for our school by wearing items with official embroidered insignia. Whether for music, arts, academics or even the Houses of Ridley (that many come to call ‘home’), a number of motifs have been designed and sported over the years to honour these facets of our school’s culture.

In the fall of 2015, Board of Governors member, Mr. David Carter ‘88, decided that the Board should also sport a custom necktie and scarf of its own. Ridley’s Board of Governors, made up of 14 dedicated members, who ensure that our school continues to grow and flourish, has become an invaluable addition to the Ridley community and thus, were well deserving of this dedicated accessory.

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The 2015-2016 Board of Governors

Mr. David Carter requested that a tie and scarf be designed by a current student and that the ultimate pattern only be recognizable and understood by Ridleians. The top three students competed for a chance to make history – with the winning design being made into a tie and a scarf to be worn by the members of the Board– and were also vying for a monetary prize.

This was not only an opportunity for the Board to collaborate with the students, but also a chance for the students to express their creativity. A process such as this one required research, traditional art skills, the use of computer design software and of course, a connection to Ridley and the community.

Fifty students submitted their drawings that symbolically represented life at Ridley College. Of those 50 designs, three were chosen as finalists by Mr. David Carter along with Board Chair, Ms. Georgina Black and Headmaster, Ed Kidd. The designers of these three patterns were brought on stage during assembly to be recognized in front of their peers by Headmaster Kidd.

As each design was projected onto the big screen in the Mandeville Theatre, it was clear that each member of the audience felt a connection to the images and that these three judges had selected designs that truly evoked a sense of pride.

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In third place was Sarah Wang ‘18, with her design depicting the Marriott Gates, an iconic landmark of Ridley College. Sarah explained, “I wanted to draw something that would represent Ridley in the most simple way. The gate may not be the most obvious structure that shows the Ridley campus, but a gate indirectly suggests direction for the future and the welcoming nature of Ridley.”

In second place was Paddy Yang ‘18, with his design depicting a roaring tiger. Paddy says, “You can see the tiger was howling. It shows our bravery. I would like to say thank you to my teacher, Mr. Campbell, I couldn’t have done this without him. He helped me a lot and during the process he gave me many useful suggestions.”

The winner of the Board of Governors insignia design competition was Callum Campbell ‘18. His tie and scarf design depicted the archway that leads into Upper School, “because these gates are so iconic to Ridley, I wanted to do them justice.” – Callum Campbell

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Callum’s winning design will be used on the Board of Governors tie and scarf, being produced in September of 2016. Congratulations to all the participants, with special congratulations to our top three designers.

The Ridley String Fling

Last week, on February 18th and 19th, over 50 string students from Ridley College and other local schools gathered together for The Ridley String Fling. This was a day of workshops lead by professional string musicians: Brian Baty on double bass, from the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO), and members of the Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ) – the resident quartet at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.

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35 students from Ridley and 20 guest students participated in three workshop sessions on Thursday. String students began the day at 10:00a.m. in rehearsal rooms around the campus, divided according their instrument: violin, viola, cello and double bass. After lunch, The Student String Quartet made up of Petrina Mo, Ryan Craig (both from Ridley), Logan Imans (Laura Secord) and Jeremy Tang (Wheatley School) rehearsed the Haydn String Quartet No. 6 in Eb major with Jerzy Kaplanek and Christine Vlajk of the Penderecki Quartet. Back in the Memorial Chapel the majority of String Fling participants rehearsed in full orchestra on four pieces, under the direction of Mr. Hutton and Mr. Vernon, with expert advice from Jeremy Bell, Katie Schlaikjer (PSQ) and Brian Baty (NSO). Many of the student participants had never performed in a large string orchestra such as this, so the experience was enlightening. The sound of the group was quite loud and resonant in the remarkable acoustics of the Memorial Chapel.

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On Friday, Lower School students in grades 5 – 8 had the privilege of attending an outreach concert put on by the Niagara Youth Orchestra at Partridge Hall in the new downtown Performing Arts Centre. In the evening, the String Fling participants met again in the Memorial Chapel to perform in concert with the Penderecki String Quartet. The Chapel was packed with performers and supporters. Six years ago, Ridley held a similar string event, which included about 25 participants. This year’s event highlights the growth that has occurred in music and string playing at Ridley. Students are finding more ways to flourish in their artistic pursuits.

– Mr. Scott Vernon, Visual and Performing Arts Subject Coordinator and Lower School Music Teacher