Valley Vision Magazine & Annual Giving Report | Fall 2021

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Amidst perhaps the darkest season of many of their lives, Valley Christian Conservatory students took the lyrics to heart. Despite the pandemic completely disrupting their schedules, routines, and performances, the school’s young artists pulled off a series of extraordinary pivots — recognizing along the way the radiant power of art to bring light and warmth to our gloomy times. “Art serves as an outlet for emotional expression, and it helps us connect with others,” says senior Mia Zhang, a Conservatory Fellow and member of the aptly-named Vivid Dance Team. Like other arts groups across the country, Vivid was forced to move its activities online last year. Still, the team pulled off a Virtual Dance Show, and won national awards for its recorded ensemble performances. Meanwhile, the Valley Christian Theatre Department went to revolutionary lengths to deliver the full-length musical Godspell, delivered to audiences as a film rather than an in-person stage show. “We picked that show in part because we could be pretty flexible with the cast and choreography,” says Chloe (Aknin ‘11) Diepenbrock, the Conservatory’s Associate Director of Operations. “But we also felt strongly that its message of hope was appropriate for the time.”

Godspell Musical, 2021

According to Diepenbrock, one of the defining takeaways of the pandemic has been a collective realization for how much the arts are needed — for “healing, safety, escape, and community.” In addition to the adaptation successes of Vivid and Godspell, the Conservatory found an innovative solution for its 2021 Festival of the Arts: Capitol Drive-in Movie Theater, just down the road from the Skyway Campus. The annual Christmas concert was a live-streamed video compilation of numerous recording sessions. “Amid all the confusion, heartbreak, and disappointment of the last twenty months, the resiliency of our young artists has been amazing,” says Troy Gunter, Vice President and Director of the K-12 Conservatory. “For some, this provided an opportunity to explore alternate means to communicate their artwork.”

Festival of the Arts Film, 2021

Junior Jeston Lu, a pianist and Conservatory Fellow, acknowledged that the accomplishments of the past year feel even more special than usual, as everyone involved had to think outside-thebox in efforts to showcase young artists. “It’s so important for people to produce and consume art during dark times,” Lu says. “It reflects our deepest experiences. It really has been the light for me throughout the pandemic.”

Valley Christian Theatre quickly shifted gears to present Godspell in the format of a feature-length film that families could stream right in their living rooms.

Festival of the Arts Film, 2021

The Vivid Dance Team won several WCE Virtual National Awards in the 2020-21 school year. These dancers were committed to performing their very best while sharing the love of God through their dance.