by Sam Kelly
This past summer, Governor’s School for the Arts took place at Radford University. Four of our very own Monticello students attended.
Governor’s School for the Arts, commonly referred to as Gov School, is a place for students who excel in their respective fields, especially the arts, to experience a higher level of intense training. Not only are these students receiving this training, but they are surrounded by other students that have the same passion as them.
“Governor’s School is an amazing experience. You’re basically going to perform and learn with 50 or 100 of the best musicians in Virginia,” said Mr. Baran, the Gifted Resource teacher at Monticello.
Two of the four Monticello students who attended Governor’s School are Cate Wells and Cassie Ferrer. Both of these students went to Gov School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Within the categories of Visual & Performing Arts and Humanities, there are even more specific options for students. Cassie Ferrer took part in the instrumental program for bassoon, whereas Cate Wells went for vocal music.
The instrumental portion of Gov School is set up similarly to school in time and structure. Students in this program took a wide range of courses to expand their knowledge, including musicianship, chamber music, jazz band, and wind ensemble.
“Some classes were more intense than others. Chamber music was pretty intense because we had one on one coaching, but musicianship was really easy,” said Ferrer.
Similarly, the vocal students had many different courses to take, including musical theory, in which students dove deeper into the what and why of singing, and chamber choir, where students would just sing and try new things. Private vocal lessons were also taught for both classical and musical theatre. Two more classes that the students took were musical theatre and sight reading, which was taught by a music education graduate student from the university.
Another reason that Gov School is an incredible experience for the students who attend is because they are surrounded by very talented individuals. “I feel like it pushed me to work harder because I was like ‘Wow these guys are so talented, I want to be talented too!’” said Ferrer. Wells agreed with the talent level. She said, “It was just amazing. That’s the best word I can use to describe it. It was just absolutely fantastic.”
Although one of the main goals of Governor’s school is dedicated to improving musical or academic ability (depending on which Governors school students attend), the highlight for many students who attend is the people and community. “The people were probably one of the best parts of Gov school. I still text daily with the people from Gov school and I love them all,” said Ferrer.
Mrs. Hutchison-Krupat, the orchestra teacher here at Monticello, has observed students who have gone through the Governor’s school program. “Students who have gone through Governor’s school haven’t necessarily came back with all these amazing musical skills, but they have a deeper understanding of music and musical theory,” she said.
The application process for Governor’s school is quite extensive, and there are many steps to come in the following weeks/months. “The middle of September, information sessions are held, the middle of October, statements of interest are submitted and candidates are chosen, and in the middle of November, kids who have been put forward to the state level begin the application process,” said Mr. Baran.
Governor’s school is highly recommended by most all music students who have attended. They love it for a myriad of reasons, one of them being how it can bring out an undiscovered passion for almost anything, especially music.
“It just really teaches you so much about yourself to be in this environment, and you realize that I want to do that. I will do whatever it takes to be this happy and this passionate about everything else in my life as much as possible,” said Wells.