Conversations floated around the galleria as it filled with students, family, and the MGCI community on the evening of 13 December 2018. They all came to experience a night of music, dance, and visual arts. Arts Night is a biannual event at MGCI that many look forward to. A lot of work was put into the event by students and staff to make it possible, including intensive advertising ahead of time through posters, banners, and announcements. Students were also encouraged to bring their family and friends.

Arts Night has a long history at MGCI and substantial changes have been made to the event since it was first started. The event used to be Music Night until 2013, when various types of art, not just music, were incorporated into the evening. The event now features a combination of music, dance, visual, and digital arts. As much as this concert celebrates music and the arts culture at MGCI, its goal is much greater than that; the event serves to bring people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds together for an exciting and memorable evening. “The evening isn’t simply just playing and watching, there are so many other things that make it special. There is a social aspect, bringing people together and unifying them through art. That’s what art is for,” music teacher Mr. Rakonjac said.

Tickets for the event were sold at the door—one for three dollars and two for five dollars. The turnout was spectacular, with the cafeteria being fully occupied. Emcees started the show at 6:30 pm and were soon followed by MGCI students presenting what they had been preparing for the past three months. The first half of the show consisted of music performances by the ESL Vocal Class, Piano Club, Choir Club, and the three Grade 9 Band Classes. From Jason Mraz songs, to Christmas songs, to afro-Cuban music, the concert brought many diverse music genres to the stage.

Intermission, which lasted for half an hour, was certainly not a break from the arts. The galleria was filled with artwork from different classes, including graffiti, pottery, collages, digital art, photography, and paintings. The photography studio was opened up to display even more artwork created by students. Attendees had the chance to vote for their favourite art pieces and the artists with the most votes were later awarded prizes.

Attendees had the chance to see artwork by students during the intermission. Image: Elmirah Ahmad

After being ushered back into the cafeteria, the show continued. K-Pop Club performed several dances, including BLACKPINK’s “Ddu-Ddu-Ddu”, which was popular among the students. Then, Vocal Classes of MGCI and Grenoble Elementary School combined in a large choir to sing songs such as “We Are The World”. Wind Band Club and Grade 9-12 Vocal Classes also performed pieces.

Vocal Classes of MGCI and Grenoble Elementary School combined in a large choir. Image: Elmirah Ahmad

The performance ended with a hit, “Lost in Japan” by Shawn Mendes, played by the Teacher Band, and even featured a saxophone solo by civics teacher Mr. Pearce. A tradition at MGCI, the performance by staff was a memorable finale for the show. Vice-Principal Mr. Sharpe, a member of the Teacher Band, discussed the value of music for him:  “I’ve been playing in bands since I was fourteen; music has always been a part of my life. It’s what keeps me going, and it’s a lot of fun as well. Whatever you do, continue the arts into the future, because there will always be opportunities, and playing in a band as a Vice-Principal is something that I would have never imagined.”

When the show concluded at 8:45 pm, many were surprised at how fast the time had passed. A parent attendee appreciated the music, saying, “[The students] were amazing, and I cherished every moment of it.” Principal Ms. Goldenberg agreed, congratulating all participants on their success through the morning announcements the following day.

Participants in the event were also satisfied with how it went. Grade 10 student and Keyboard Club member Gabriel Cassidy said, “It was a great experience and opportunity to start a club and have it showcased with my friends and do what I love.”

All in all, the night was a celebration of success and talents, as well as an opportunity for students to de-stress before exams. It could not have been executed without the hard work of students and teachers, who are already planning the next Arts Night in May 2019. “It takes a lot of teacher and student effort to put on a production like this. But it’s worth it, giving students the outlet to showcase their passion of art,” art teacher Ms. Doyle said.

For some, Arts Night was filled with inspiration, while for others it was the joy of sharing. Either way, the night was a special one for everyone who attended, organized, and participated, and it’s no surprise that students and teachers alike are already counting down the days until the next Arts Night.