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Sugar House Journal

Salt Lake School of the Performing Arts hosts in-person artistic graduation

Jun 01, 2021 11h30 ● By Lizzie Walje

Salt Lake School of the Performing Arts will host an in-person arts-infused graduation this year, but with everyone wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. (Lizzie Walje/City Journals)

By Lizzie Walje | [email protected]

Each year, Salt Lake School of the Performing Arts (SPA) seniors decide on a theme for the graduation showcase that represents the unique optics of their collective experience. This year’s graduating class chose to craft their showcase around the lyrics “Hold on to the memories/they will hold on to you” an excerpt from pop star Taylor Swift’s song “Delicate.” The ceremony will be held Wednesday, June 2 at 6 p.m. at Highland High School. 

A staunch departure from last year’s virtual proceedings, students will reunite on the stage once again delivering a variety of captivating performances, ranging from music to dancing. While the theme serves as a universal thread that weaves together the various conservatory performances, the goal is to let creativity flourish. For some of them, it will be the last time they perform in a creative capacity. 

Despite Salt Lake School of the Performing Art’s creative student body, not all of their graduating seniors aspire to pursue careers in the arts. “We have students who go on to be nurses and doctors. [Our school] is nice for the students who want to continue dancing, or singing, but don’t want to do it professionally,” Lexie Hall, the school’s graduation committee chair explained. 

That same flexibility extends to the graduation showcase, where students can choose their desired level of participation. For some, this means playing a critical role in the development of their conservatory’s performance, while others are perfectly content with singing the national anthem. Regardless, seniors spent months preparing for these performances, and now they will finally be able to share them with their loved ones, in person, for the first time since the 2019 graduation. 

In a year punctuated by first-time experiences, SPA’s principal Lucas Charon is particularly excited to witness his first artistic graduation. He is currently concluding his inaugural year as principal, yet he speaks with ease and confidence when discussing the success of his students. 

“Because our students are art students, they are often counted out. They proved so many people wrong this year.” Such appears to be the case, as SPA experienced a record-breaking number of students on honor roll. Furthermore, many graduating seniors will continue pursuing their dreams whether they choose to audition for prestigious ballet companies or enroll in higher education at Juilliard or one of Salt Lake City’s institutions. 

Despite recent progress in the decline of COVID cases, the safety of SPA students and their loved ones remains a priority. As a result, students and guests, regardless of their vaccination status, will be asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Perhaps a small price to pay for those who have waited a year to regain their rightful spot on the stage.