On April 20, Saint Mary School, Vineland, held the first-ever C.A.B. (Creative Arts and Beyond) Fair, as young, aspiring musicians, actors, singers and artists from Camden Diocesan elementary schools showcased their talents and received feedback and encouragement from professionals.
Some 65 students from several schools — Saint Mary School; Assumption Regional, Galloway; Saint John Paul II, Stratford; Saint Michael the Archangel, Clayton; and Saint Anthony of Padua, Camden — took part in the all-day event, a first of its kind in the diocese.
Participating in “Master Classes” led by professionals and experts in drama and the visual arts, the passionate sixth, seventh and eighth graders showed off their inner Marlon Brando, Kelly Clarkson, Fred Astaire or Georgia O’Keefe.
Drama and performing arts students performed monologues, scenes from a production or an original mime, vocal or dance. Visual artwork included multiple categories, such as two- or three-dimensional works in collage, sculpting, drawing, painting or pastels.
The experts judged the students’ performances, providing helpful feedback for the youth.
“The arts are a great way for students to build self-esteem and put themselves out there,” for those aspiring to careers as architects, designers or teachers, said Grace Hoffner, an art and drama teacher at Saint Mary who developed the day with principal Steven Hogan and fellow teacher Loren Train.
Hoffner added that the day was a good opportunity for creative arts teachers to network with each other, and to “enrich development in the arts in our Catholic schools.
“The students did a tremendous job, and expressed interest in doing it again next year,” she said.
No doubt like some of the participating students, the event “went out on a high note.”