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Examiner
  • Bingham Academy full of heroes and villains

  • For four years, Audrey Drace has been encouraged to attend the George Caleb Bingham Academy of the Arts. But the recent graduate of Raytown High School never jumped at the chance to attend the long-running academy.



    Until this year that is.

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  • For four years, Audrey Drace has been encouraged to attend the George Caleb Bingham Academy of the Arts. But the recent graduate of Raytown High School never jumped at the chance to attend the long-running academy.
    Until this year that is.
    “I regret that I delayed in coming,” she said. “I wish I would have come sooner. I have learned so much during this academy.”
    This is the 17th year for the arts academy, which features four wings – visual arts, creative writing, theater and music. It is geared toward students who are interested in the fine arts and includes more than 85 students from 19 high schools. Named for famous Independence area artist George Caleb Bingham, a Luminist painter of the Missouri frontier, the Independence School District began the program in 1997. Five students in this year’s academy have been attending for the last five years.
    The theme for the 2013 academy is Heroes and Villains. The projects from the students include producing a 36-page magazine, producing note cards with original art work and theater and music pieces.
    The Showcase of the Arts is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Truman High School. Student graduation and awards will precede the showcase. Drama students will perform a short melodrama, along with choir selections, a harp ensemble, a string quintet and dance numbers. The art students will also display their original works. The event is free and open to the public.
    For the theater students, the summer has been filled with rehearsals and preparing different pieces. As part of the heroes and villains theme - the group of 21 performed a children’s show entitled “Comic Book Artist.” The play focused on a janitor who becomes a super hero because of magic pens. They are now working on the melodrama set in the Old West for the showcase.
    “We have really stressed to them that they are working actors,” said Clay Morgan, a teacher in the theater class. “While they are learning their lines and performing, they are learning monologues and auditioning for another show at the same time. They are learning what it’s like to be busy actors and are learning what’s its like in the real world.”
    Jesse Ewart, a senior at William Chrisman this fall, said he has always enjoyed theater, which is why he has attended the academy for the last two years. He said he likes how a few students are taken from a variety of high schools and then placed in one group to work together.
    “I think I have gotten a lot better at improv this summer. I was not so strong before, so this has helped me so much,” he said. “It (the academy) is such a great learning experience. It makes you become a better actor, and you get to meet new people and make new connections.”
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