The community turned out for the 21st annual Fine Arts Banquet at Brainerd High School on Monday to acknowledge about 180 seniors for their artistic and creative achievements.
Parents, teachers and area art advocates packed the cafeteria -- more than 550 tickets were distributed -- for a turkey dinner and the presentation of dozens of awards and scholarships to the best of the class.
Most have been featured in these pages as Fine Arts Students of the Week during the school year.
Peter Larson, a tenor in the A Cappella Choir, was the biggest winner of the night, as recipient of the $1,500 scholarship for a college vocal major from the choir's alumni association.
Leah Stoneberg stepped into the spotlight along with all the fine arts seniors at the Brainerd High School Fine Arts Banquet on Monday night.
The group also awarded a $1,000 scholarship for a four-year college-bound student to Carissa Clemens and a $500 scholarship for a student headed for Central Lakes College to Elizabeth Sawdey.
Katherine Mitchell won a $500 music scholarship from the Harmony Engineers, an area barbershop quartet, perhaps best known for its summer street show, "Rhythm of the Rails."
Garnished in Mardi Gras colors and symbols, the event opened on a lengthy and solemn note as each student participating in an art-related discipline was introduced to the audience, 180-plus eventually taking a momentary position in the spotlight.
Meanwhile, the hot dinner of turkey and mashed potatoes simmered in the giant ovens, waiting to be served cafeteria style at $8 a plate. The audience dined to the music of the BHS Dixieland Band.
Brainerd High School arts students honored in their disciplines were Michael Hart (front row, left), band; Darin Stout and Derek Dirlam, drama; Dana Moore (second row, left), debate/mock trial; Alexis Bylander, debate; Amanda Burggraff, choir; Katherine Wilcox, orchestra; Katie Schmidt, visual arts; Chris Dehen (back row, left), arts, athletics and academics award; Kevin Lamb, band; Amy Kittelson, orchestra; Peter Larson, A Cappella Choir; Dayna Logering, Brainonian; Graham Lampa, Fifth Street Journal; and Jake Carson, TV production.
As "mistress of ceremonies," Bonnie Cumberland choreographed the program, punctuating the evening with teacher-related jokes, such as: "Real teachers:
-- "Drive older cars owned by credit unions.
-- "Never teach the conjunctions of lying and laying to eighth-graders.
-- "Can sense gum.
The Brainerd High School Dixieland Band performed for diners at the Brainerd High School Fine Arts Banquet on Monday night.
-- "Know that secretaries and custodians really run the school."
Cumberland, a BHS marketing instructor, is a former Brainerd mayor. Throughout the post-dinner program, she turned the podium over to presenters of scholarships sponsored by area businesses and school-related organizations.
Molly Zauhar was awarded a $500 creative writing scholarship from the Lake Country Journal magazine for her contest-winning essay on "what living in the lakes country means to me."
John Loss won a $250 scholarship from Russell and Herder advertising agency for his visual art accomplishments, and he received a $1,000 award from I-Max Corp. before Monday's ceremony.
Encore Arts Club selected Sarah Ahlberg as its visual art scholarship winner, and Kathryn Schmidt, named outstanding art student this year, received another $250 award.
Jessica Hansen won a $300 writing scholarship from The Brainerd Dispatch, which also selected more than 30 students for the newspaper's fine arts medallions, each presented during Monday's ceremony.
An Outstanding Student plaque was awarded to the top student in each of the 15 divisions of the "fine arts" department, including Katherine Wilcox for Chamber Orchestra, Derek Dirlam for drama, Graham Lampa for Brainonian, Jake Carson for television production, Larson for vocal music, Mike Hart for Symphonic Band, Dana Moore for Mock Trial, and Alexis Bylander and Moore for debate.
The Lake Country Journal and Russell and Herder shared the award for Outstanding Lay Person in the Arts, given annually to individuals or organizations that support the school's fine arts program.
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