Students score gold Charleston School of the Arts orchestra is honored

Linda Fantuzzo, a local artist, has work on display during May at the Corrigan Gallery in downtown Charleston.

It does my heart good to see young people playing in an orchestra. The knowledge of fine music and the playfulness and joy of performing together will stay with them all their lives even if they never pick up an instrument again.

So I read with pleasure that the Middle School Orchestra from the Charleston School of the Arts won top awards at the Heritage National Orchestra Competition in Orlando, Florida in April.

The orchestra received the Gold Award with scores of 98, 97 and 93 from its three judges. In the Overall Orchestra division, the SOA students received first place and the Outstanding Orchestra Award. And the director, Susan Mears, also received the Adjudicator Award for Excellence in Conducting.

This means that the orchestra beat out competitors from Canada and Charlottesville, Va., including some orchestras that are tops in their classes.

Because of its great performance, it has been invited to participate in the National Invitational Festival of Gold in 2013 in Chicago.

The orchestra is composed of students in grades six through eight with varying levels of experience and represent a diverse demographic.

Keep up the good work over there. Maybe we have the next Yo-Yo Ma in the making.

A student opportunity is coming up when the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater comes to town for Spoleto Festival USA. Dance stars Guillermo Asca and Hope Boykin are conducting master classes at the Charleston Dance Center. Students get inspired by seeing their idols dance with them, so it's a great way to help those aspiring balletomanes.

There are two classes on May 26: Beginner/Intermediate Level 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Intermediate Level 12:30-2 p.m. You have to preregister, and space is limited. Cost is $20 per person.

If you have questions about this, contact Marka Danielle at or 452-8713.

Another student opportunity is one that aspiring arts students should try to apply to next year if they are at the College of Charleston.

The arts management program in the College of Charleston School of the Arts has partnered with Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York to establish a competitive Summer Study Fellowship for a qualified junior or senior. It gives the student a chance to take two courses at the institute along with students from 30 other countries. It's also a chance to live and play in New York City for the summer. How much better can that get?

The 2012 inaugural recipient, Chelsea Michael, will take the courses tuition-free. A senior in the Honors College program, Michael is pursuing a double major in arts management and studio art.

Linda Fantuzzo has a new show at the Corrigan Gallery, and her work is always provocative and inspiring. This set of works features soft, mysterious, paintings reminiscent of Joseph Mallord William Turner's waterscapes.

While she has been painting images of Kiawah for years, these are the kind that inspire dreaming. Her work belongs in major art collections.

Fantuzzo has been here since 1973 after a visit encouraged by Charleston's Manning Williams. Like many art students, she first illustrated school book reports and was encouraged by an arts teacher.

She plays with scale, so sometimes her work is small, and other times it will cover an entire wall. You just never know what she will do.

The show is up for May at 62 Queen St.

The folks at Redux usually have interesting contemporary art exhibits, and the one starting Friday is no exception.

They are presenting a site-specific installation by visiting artist Jason Hackenwerth. For his exhibit, “The Tempest,” he is bringing experimental sculptures cut from plywood. It's like a giant puzzle held together by gravity.

We haven't had site-specific work here in a while, so this is a nice change of pace from paintings and drawings.

Hackenwerth's sculptures have been featured in the Great Hall of Dinosaurs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and The Madonna Project at Art Basel, Miami Beach.

The artist's reception is 6-8 p.m. Friday, and Hackenwerth will give an artist talk at 7 p.m. The studio is at 136 St. Philip St.

The work looks very interesting, and it's fun to hear what an artist thinks about his work — or in this case, the construction of these big wood pieces.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or sharvin@post