Covid has left a lasting impact on all Ontario schools, particularly within the arts faculty. Many of the Arts rely on performance, so they struggled with enrollment when students had to practice and rehearse in an alternative format through online and distance learning. Nepean’s music and vocal programs felt some of the greatest effects, being forced to shift to significantly smaller class sizes and drastically altered class structures. Both groups spent a lot of the past two years practicing both distanced and outside, formats that had significant influence on the unity of the choir and band experience. To encourage enrollment, these departments have already started doing performances for future students at Broadview and Fisher Park middle schools. Music departments at Nepean are hoping the performances showcase the exciting opportunities students could experience by getting involved with these departments when they get to High School.
Now that school board mandates have changed, classes are resuming their normal functioning, allowing many departments to bring back traditions that were lost in Covid. For example, the drama department is back in full swing with their fall children’s theatre show, with writing, directing, and acting all done by Nepean students. Their show, The Potion Pursuit, toured to Ottawa elementary schools for the first time since 2019 from November 29th to December 2nd. Now, the drama department is gearing up for their spring musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which is set to perform in April 2023.
Nepean is lucky to have a wonderful visual arts department that often contributes murals around the school, but these went on pause during Covid. This year the school is already getting a new mural painted by two Grade 12 students, Steven Lee and Joshua Bedard. The pair are able to get creative and put a lasting piece of art within the school. The fact that students are able to put art on the walls of Nepean and release their creative expression is extremely valuable.
During Covid, music was labeled a "dangerous event"; however, Nepean staff, and arts teachers across the province have been fighting to bring it back. Ms. Hunter, who is both the Department Head for fine arts and special ed, as well as one of Nepean's Instrumental Music Program teachers, reflected on the importance of the arts. “Coming out of the pandemic we need the arts more than ever. Arts are humanizing, they bring us together, give us an opportunity for social and emotional learning, and build community.” Though a lot of that community was lost in the pandemic years, 2022 is already looking to be a wonderful year for the arts. The Faculty of Arts at NHS is full of passionate teachers and students, with their love of art shown across the school through murals, performances, and more. Nepean has strong programs that will allow students to carry their passion and love of the arts beyond high school. Looking to support Nepean arts and learn a little more about Nepean’s arts programs? Come to the music departments next show on December 15th at 7pm in the Nepean Auditorium!