Golden Valley High School celebrated art in all forms on Friday thanks to the High School Nation Tour, a traveling music festival that promotes the arts in public education.
The day began with a question-and-answer session with eight emerging artists who are on the tour. Students in classes such as drama, band and leadership gleaned tips on how to break into the music scene and how to balance schoolwork while on tour.
Later that afternoon, the school’s football field transformed with multiple stages set up for music performances. Students could also participate in activities such as tie-dying and fiddling with various instruments before the headlining act.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the day was the Plain White T’s performance. The platinum-selling rock band is best known for its songs “Hey There Delilah” and “Rhythm of Love.
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Mike Richter, Golden Valley’s associate principal, said the school was able to land the event – all for free – simply by replying to an email.
“I received a random email promoting the program. We feel very fortunate we caught it and didn’t delete it,” he said. “From the very beginning, the whole thing has felt too good to be true.”
In addition to Friday’s event, High School Nation also will set up a recording studio on the Golden Valley campus – again, all for free. It’s still in the planning stages, but it should be open and ready to use within a couple months, said Andrew DeGolyer, the tour manager.
“Our goal is to expose kids to the arts,” DeGolyer said. “We’re visiting public schools because a lot of arts programs get cut.”
Richter said Friday’s event will do just that. “Maybe it will spark interest for someone to go to an art class or a drama class,” he said. “This will create more exposure to the arts, and a lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to do that.”
Kiona Ellis, a 17-year-old senior at Golden Valley, said it was interesting to hear from the up-and-coming artists and be able to relate to them. “They’re all normal people,” she said. “They’re not superstars.”
Ellis said she joined drama her junior year in high school and performed in plays for the first time. “It was one of the best experiences I had,” she said. “I got to make new friends and create stronger bonds with those people I already to know. During the performances, I liked to watch the audience’s reaction and just watch it all come together.”
Golden Valley is one of 60 schools the tour will visit this year, DeGolyer said.
The $28,000 recording studio will include programs, instruments, desks and more.
School officials hope the studio will open more opportunities for students and lead to additional career path courses.
Mylezia King, a 22-year-old singer from Delaware who was touring with High School Nation, said music can be an outlet for teens. She encouraged students not to hold back from doing things they were passionate about.
“Go after your dreams,” she said.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477