In anticipation of the opening of the Hamilton McPherson Fine Arts Building, the Fine Arts Departments at Bremen High School were charged with preparing some extraordinary performances to showcase at the system’s grand opening ceremony. Not only did these groups deliver at the dedication, but they also built dynamic shows that brought home state honors this fall.
The school’s one act play presented an excerpt of their performance for the dedication in September, but blew other schools out of the water at competition. The students put in countless hours of preparation, often working from 3:30 to 9 p.m. four days a week. The cast included veterans and newcomers, totaling 25 cast members.
The group brought on a new assistant director this year, Dorian Santiago, to help with character building and motivation. Monica Turner, Bremen One Act’s director said, “He and I worked very well together to bring out the best in the students.”
Bremen High School hosted Region 5AA competition on Oct. 18 at the Hamilton McPherson Performing Arts Center, a first for the school system. Bremen’s one act group won first place for their presentation of the “The Diviners” by Jim Leonard Jr., knocking off drama powerhouse Manchester High School. Sam McCracken, a senior at Bremen High, was named Best Actor. Darron Boxley, Taylor Mouser, Ansley Yates and Jamie Dukes were named to the All Star Cast.
After winning region competition, the group competed at the state contest on Oct. 27 at Northside High School in Warner Robins. Eight schools competed in Bremen’s division, including many private schools. Bremen proudly returned home with first place honors. Following Bremen were Calhoun High School, Davidson School for the Fine Arts, and Greater Atlanta Christian. Sam McCracken was named State Best Actor and Darron Boxley was named to the State All-Star Cast.
“Working with this cast and crew has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” said Turner when asked about her cast this year.
Bremen’s One Act Play Competition Group has won state three out of the last nine years.
Another highlight for Bremen High School this year has been the Blue Devil Marching Band. The group’s show, titled “Undeniable Faith,” conveniently piggy-backed on the school’s theme (Faith) this year. The show was based on two common hymn tunes, including “All Creatures of Our God and King” and “Praise Ye the Lord the Almighty.”
“By design, the shows have been getting more and more challenging each season, and this year’s production was the most difficult musically and visually since I came in 2009,” said Band Director Derek Able. “The beginning of the season was somewhat of a distraction having to move into our new facilities, but the students stayed focused and worked hard all the way to the end of October.”
The band loves the new band room and auditorium. Their hard work paid off with best-in-class finishes at every competition, as well as a third overall finish out of more than 20 bands at the final competition at Haralson County High School.
“We took a big gamble to try to set such music for marching band, but I think a large part of the appeal was in the fact that it was very different from what other bands were doing,” said Able.
The band has grown in numbers over the past few years due in part to the hard work at the middle school by Director Matthew Bass. The color guard almost doubled in number this year and added the rifle to their equipment challenges. Chelsie Moore and Whitney Parker led the group in its expansion.
Due to the group’s continued success over the past three seasons (seven consecutive best in class finishes), Able believes the band will continue to grow in strength and number over the next few years.
“Students are already asking what we have hidden up our sleeves for the fall of 2013. I think the primary reason for our continued success lies in the dedication, chemistry and work ethic of our members. It’s going to be a challenge to continue to improve, but our students always seem to rise to the occasion every year.”