The fine arts — singing, playing, dancing, creating — has a profile in Osceola County. What raises it on a near everyday basis?
It’s the Osceola County School for the Arts, which is doing it through young people.
Those are students, in grades 6-12, who choose to be there, about 500 each in the middle and high schools. They apply for a place in the school — note to parents, the selection process for the 2020-21 begins Nov. 8 — and, once accepted, they choose a “major” within the school must audition to secure a place on a performing unit (like a band, chorus or dance troupe).
But once in place, the magic happens thanks to a dedicate teaching staff that gets to share their own passions with their students.
While it’s an Osceola County school, thanks to the specialized programs and the state of Florida’s emphasis on school choice, there are a handful of student who come from Orange County, which does not have a school similar to OCSA.
Bill Molineaux is director of OCSA’s middle school band, so he gets the opportunity to mold the younger players into concert players who will eventually be a part of the high school band or orchestra if they choose to stay at OCSA.
Molineaux has been at OCSA for seven years, so he’s seen young kids become older kids and move through the high school program. Some go on to musical tracks in college or performing arts schools. Some have not, and that’s okay to him, as long as they keep the passion in their hearts.
“I get to see them audition, and see their passion. If needed I push them toward the high school program, but they’re already motivated to be here,” he said. “I want my kids to be an advocate of the arts, even if they stop playing.
Molineaux said he sees how music education can change a teenager, not just musically but in their lives, and the lives of those who they play for.
“It’s great to see kids get excited for new music. The best part is when I get to learn something new,” he said. “We’ve had an effect on hundreds of students. We make people’s lives better through the arts.”
And OCSA is all about the arts — as many of them as can be showcased within their halls on Orange Blossom Trail just north of Osceola Parkway. Aside from band there are creative writing, dance, vocal music, drama/theater, technical theater and visual arts tracks.
Many of those will be on display at the inaugural Masquerade Arts Gala, being held at Osceola Arts in Kissimmee Oct. 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. It is a free event, but attendees are encouraged to donate, or purchase artwork and masks created by students and teachers. The night will include various performances. Cocktail party attire is requested for attendees.