MFAA 2023

PBHS sophomore selected for Missouri Fine Arts Academy
Posted on 05/23/2023
Missouri Fine Arts Academy flyer

Outgoing sophomore Virginiagrace Vandewarker has been selected to participate in the Missouri Fine Arts Academy this summer, the first qualifying student from Poplar Bluff High School in several years, according to recent memory.

Virginiagrace has been chosen as the only student from this region among 100 total across the state to attend the two-week residential program, from June 4-17, through the Reynolds College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University in Springfield. Judged by a panel of artists and educators, students grades 10-12 may apply to attend the Academy.

Since transferring here midway through last school year, Virginiagrace “has proven to be a capable musician and a leader in our choir program,” stated Joshua Allen, PBHS director of vocal music. In addition to MFAA, Virginiagrace made All-District Choir this year and recently qualified for the Missouri Choral Directors Association summer honor choir for grades 9-10, Allen noted.

With funding approved by Missouri Legislature in concert with privately supported scholarships, the Academy was established for highly motivated student artists in the fields of visual arts, theatre, dance, creative writing and music. MFAA offers an intensive schedule of classes in interdisciplinary and discipline-specific arts, and a wide range of co-curricular activities.

Participating in the vocal music area of study, Virginiagrace wrote in the essay included in her portfolio, along with an audition video, about how the performing arts have helped her stay connected through the pandemic and during a move across the country.

“I may have been the new kid when I walked into these programs, but soon I found that I essentially had a built-in family of friends just waiting for me to help make these hard transitions a bit easier,” Virginiagrace stated. She has always wanted to take vocal lessons, she said, and believes the program will allow her to further develop the craft.

“I am hoping to be surrounded by like-minded peers who will help me to become a better musician and help improve my confidence and social skills,” Virginiagrace explained. “I also hope to learn through constructive criticism to be able to critique my technique and mature my vocal skills to overall benefit me in the future.”

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