Winter Harmony: KCUSD’s Visual & Performing Arts Programs Illuminate the Season

Dec 2, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Education, Jim Mulligan, Music, Reedley News

by Jim Mulligan

As winter approaches and temperatures drop in the Valley, Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD) is bringing warmth and vibrancy to the community through its Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA) programs. From elementary schools to high schools, the district’s commitment to fostering creativity and artistic expression is evident in the diverse offerings that make up the VAPA umbrella.

VAPA, an acronym for Visual & Performing Arts, encompasses a spectrum of artistic disciplines, including music, visual arts, dance, theatre, and media arts. At KCUSD, the VAPA program is not just a part of the curriculum; it’s a cornerstone of the educational philosophy. The program, primarily aimed at first through fifth graders in elementary schools, provides a holistic arts education experience. Students are exposed to singing, playing the flutophone, visual arts creation, dance, and drama on alternate days throughout the school year.

The VAPA program goes beyond the elementary level, offering middle and high school students the opportunity to engage in more advanced pursuits such as band, choir, drama, and folkloric dance programs. This comprehensive approach aligns with KCUSD’s mission to provide students with a broad spectrum of educational opportunities, allowing them to reach their highest potential.

One of the hallmarks of KCUSD’s VAPA program is its commitment to celebrating a variety of traditions within the community. The program actively participates in local events such as the Reedley Fiesta and Orange Cove Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Bands from the schools perform in parades, and students create visual artwork inspired by the themes of these events. This engagement fosters a sense of community and showcases the arts as an integral part of local culture.

A significant cultural celebration in KCUSD is the “Dia de Niño” or “Children’s Day” event held annually in April. This multicultural celebration, rotating between Reedley and Orange Cove, brings together students from all grade levels to present choreographed songs, folkloric dance, percussion ensembles, and choral music. It is a moment to celebrate the diversity within the district and acknowledge the achievements of English language learners who have successfully passed proficiency tests throughout the year.

As winter descends, the VAPA program takes center stage with its annual winter concerts. These concerts, a culmination of the hard work put in by students throughout the fall, feature choirs from Citrus Middle School, Reedley High, and Orange Cove, as well as bands from various elementary schools. The performances take place at different venues, including the Reedley High Performing Arts Theater and on-campus multipurpose spaces. Each concert is infused with a unique theme, providing families an opportunity to come together and share in the joy of the season.

“Winter concerts are a wonderful community and family tradition that brings us together,” says the Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Jimmy Loomis, who has been an integral part of KCUSD since 2009. The concerts not only showcase the artistic talents of the students but also create a sense of unity and festive spirit that resonates throughout the community.

The VAPA program at KCUSD thrives on the dedication of its team. With 30 part-time and/or full-time individuals contributing to its success, the program has become a nurturing ground for artistic talent and a source of community bonds. The program’s coordinator, who transitioned from being a band teacher to overseeing the elementary VAPA program and, later, becoming the Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator for the district, emphasizes the joy and gratitude associated with serving the teachers and students of KCUSD.

As winter unfolds its enchanting landscapes, KCUSD’s Visual & Performing Arts programs continue to illuminate the season, bringing together students, families, and the wider community in a harmonious celebration of creativity and talent. The winter concerts and cultural events not only showcase the artistic prowess of the students but also underline the district’s commitment to providing a well-rounded education that encompasses the beauty of the arts. In the chill of winter, the warmth of artistic expression at KCUSD shines brightly, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all who partake in its melodic and visual wonders.

You can find more Reedley stories in our Reedley News section.

Jim Mulligan was born and raised in Selma. He has been employed in Reedley on and off for the last twenty-plus years. He married his college sweetheart, a Reedley-ite, Kristi. They now reside in Reedley amongst their children and grandchildren. Bonsai, traveling the world both near and far, and motorcycling take up most of his free time.


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