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Trumpet player Matthew Burn plays with the accompaniment of pianist Heejin Park to the song “Glorious Ventures” by Peter Graham. The University of Georgia Performing Arts Department hosted “Kaleidoscope” the opening ceremony of the Spotlight on the Arts celebration on November 1, 2018 in Athens, Georgia featuring performers of music, singing, dance, creative writing and theatre.

Kaleidoscope, the opening celebration for the Spotlight on the Arts festival at UGA, showcased art across all mediums at the university on Nov. 1. Consisting of short demonstrations of various art forms ranging from music and dance to acting and writing, the exhibition took an artistically interdisciplinary approach to start the 11-day art festival.

The celebration began in complete darkness with the music of “Tubilustrium” composed by David Lovrien and performed by the UGA Hodgson Wind Ensemble floating through the UGA Performing Arts Center. This shifted to a well-lit stage filled with dancers in jewel-tone skirts performing to music by the UGA Wind Symphony. This changed once more back to the shadowy setting from the beginning for a monologue called “Ends,” written and performed by Sam Regal.

This all happened within the first 15 minutes.

David Cowan, a first-year graduate student from San Jose, California studying acting, performed in Kaleidoscope as part of a scene called “Revolutionize the World (Do Not Marry)” from Alice Birch’s play, “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.

Cowan relished the opportunity to be a part of this public display and appreciation of the arts.

“It’s so cool to get to be one of the people who gets to represent the theatre arts department and just arts in general at UGA for a larger body that may not normally be exposed to the work,” Cowan said.

He also acknowledged the one-of-a-kind nature of Kaleidoscope in particular.

“[Kaleidoscope is] such a unique style of performance,” Cowan said. “It’s really short vignettes, three to four minutes, and it happens all around you and it happens back to back [without] applause in between.”

With the variety of performances included in the celebration, many attendees’ favorite acts were different.

Paige Orphe, a freshman psychology major from Fayetteville, said the tuba quartet’s performance of John Stevens’ “Viva Voce” was her favorite.

“My favorite performance was the brass band in the beginning,” Orphe said. “It was a very diverse, talented group.”

Caroline Umila, a freshman intended-accounting major from Fayetteville found “Behind the Valley,” a violin arrangement by Annie Leeth based on a work by Andrew Bird, to be her favorite of the night.

Leeth implemented technology in the arrangement by recording her playing different violin variations like staccato and overlaying them to give an illusion that it was more than just her playing at once. She also included graphics with the piece.

“I really enjoyed the piece with the girl with the violin that had the images on the screen to go with it,” Umila said. “I thought that was really cool.”

Umila embodies the mission of Kaleidoscope and Spotlight on the Arts as a whole — reaching a wide audience and displaying the arts at UGA.

“I saw the flyer [for Kaleidoscope], and I thought it would be interesting,” Umila said. “I really like fine arts, and I haven’t really seen any fine arts shows since high school, so it was really cool to come back and experience it.”  

Camie Williams, the public relations specialist responsible for the marketing and advertising for the UGA Arts Council, sees the value in showcasing the artistic endeavors being pursued at UGA through Kaleidoscope.

“It puts on display the very best of student work that’s going on all across campus, and it’s our chance to combine them all together into one amazing show,” Williams said. “We have dance, theatre, music and creative writing all represented.”

Kaleidoscope is just one piece of the whole that is Spotlight on the Arts.

“The point [of Spotlight on the Arts] is [for it] to be a collage of the many different things that are going on around campus,” Williams said. “And it is really fun.”