Iain Leggat ’16
The Walker Fine Arts center has almost become a second home for me while being at Woodberry. From the outside, it’s not the most glamorous of buildings on campus. If compared to the new science or math buildings, it looks like a place that has been neglected. However, this all changes once you step foot through two large, wooden doors. You are greeted with a long corridor that is guarded by a large blue portrait of ‘B. B. King’ jamming away on his Gibson Lucille guitar. You find yourself going through numerous rooms full of instruments, sounds, voices, computers, scripts, and costumes. The warmth of the Walker Fine Arts Center can be especially well seen in the plays which are put on at the end of every trimester. The fall plays this year have been far from normal as both plays commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Rather than the usual sit-down-and-enjoy, they were a double whammy of intense and emotional theatre.
The upstage play was ‘The Survivor’ by Susan Nanus, which was the tale of a Warsaw Ghetto survivor. It was a compelling piece of drama which kept most of the audience on the verge of tears by the end of the show and really gave an inside look into the struggles of teenagers living through the Holocaust. Down in the Black Box Theatre, the atmosphere was different. ‘2’, written by Romulus Liney, had the audience captivated as they followed Herman Goering throughout his time at the Nuremburg Trials. It was a play that allowed the audience to gain a completely different perspective on Hitler’s number 2 man. The fall play audiences were certainly put through a different experience than the usual, but most definitely one that was worth remembering. Besides the theater, the arts at Woodberry offer many other interesting opportunities to students, such as the Dozen and even Bagpipe lessons.
This year, the Dozen is now titled the Bakers Dozen, due to my membership for the year. The Dozen has been an interesting experience and I was surprised at first when they handed round the sheet music to a classic Scottish folk song ‘Loch Lomond’. But after hearing the big sound and the impact the boys had to the song, I was more than impressed. Of course, my Scottish fairytale was short lived, as Mr Hornady then handed round the American classic ‘America the Beautiful’. I stared at the notes and all I could think about was Ray Charles sitting at his piano, gently reciting the lines “Oh Beautiful For Spacious Skies”. I chuckled all the way through the first run through of the piece. I just felt so American. It would be a lie to say that I did not enjoy the song; America wins hand downs when it comes to patriotic songs.
This collection of national songs culminated with the US National Anthem, the inseparable ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ a piece of music that seems to run in the bloodlines of the American people. By the end of my second run through it, I could understand why. I can only imagine what it is going to be like hearing the symbolic tune while standing on the EHS field, in front of two sets of roaring school kids, their parents and, of course, the eager-to-win football players.