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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

On the eve of May 19, 2015, Frisch held its annual Evening of the Arts. Parents and students gathered to hear musical performances by the Frisch School choir, led by Josh Erlich, and the Frisch School performance ensemble and jazz band, led by

Steve Bill, director of music. The performances opened with “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, which quickly got the crowd excited and clapping along. The ensemble followed with “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” by the Allman Brothers Band, and ”Windmills of Your Mind” by Michel Legrand, as performed by Sting. The choir was pitch-perfect as they sang “Hinei MaTov,” “Malchei HaM’lachim” and “Or Gadol.” The jazz band performed “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited, “Chain Reaction” by The Crusaders and finally a memorable performance of “The Coffee Song,” by Frank Sinatra; this lineup was introduced by a small skit and song by director Steve Bill himself (he sang with Sinatra in the early 1980’s). Parents around the room swayed with the beat and mouthed the words along with the performers, showing familiarity with the music and pride in the work of the students.

The audience was then introduced to the art portion of the program by a Frisch senior who reminisced about her four years of art at Frisch and what they have done for her. The back of the room was opened to reveal a carefully curated exhibit of art work that included 2-D and 3-D art work from students of the Frisch arts track, the studio art club, the eleventh grade studio art elective classes and the senior AP studio art class. Included in the exhibit, as well, was work by contemporary artists from the Art League Defending Israel (http://www.artleaguedefendingisrael.org), who partnered with the AP studio art class; the collaboration included a discussion about creating art that reflects what is going on in Israel in order to visually represent, comment on, reflect upon and memorialize these current events for posterity. The students proudly displayed their works, which ranged from powerful images depicting Gilad, Eyal and Naftali, to paintings that captured children in Gaza playing on rockets or an Israeli playground revealing an underground tunnel opening in its center. The works resonated with the viewers and typified the approach of the presence of art in the world and world in the art, that drove the class.

Other exhibits attracted significant attention, including the 3-D “altered book sculptures” created by the ninth grade arts track students, complemented by similar work created in Frisch’s partner school in Nahariya, Israel. To achieve these sculptures, the students crafted paper models of themselves extracted from the center of unused school textbooks. The skill, precision, creativity and technique employed in this project were evocative and powerful. Additional multimedia pieces such as metal wire self-portraits, which were hung across the stage, and complex ceramic relief sculptures, provided insight into the developing artistic minds of Frisch students from all the high school grades.

The exhibit housed a selection of work from the new collaboration with The Sinai School, a program which began this year. Also showcased was a full table of ceramic vessels created by the tenth grade students during an art/’nach integration project that interfaced Yirmiyahu and his prophesy, with “clay in the hands of a potter” as a vision of a Jew’s relationship to Hashem.

Between paintings and drawings, employing media ranging from textiles to sculptures and finding subjects from still life to abstractions, the work ran the gamut of expression. This gave parents, faculty and the artists themselves cause for pride.