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PHOTOS: Summer STEP performances and art show

Published on Thursday, July 29, 2021

dancers perform on stage

Berkeley County School District’s visual and performing arts students took the stage this week to showcase everything that have been working on this year’s summer STEP, held at Marrington Middle School of the Arts.

STEP stands for “special talent enrichment program.” The summer program is a chance for students who excel in the arts to receive specialized attention in different focus areas, pushing them to step outside their comfort zones and hone their artistic skills.

This year’s STEP event finished up July 29 with three performances and an art exhibition. Check out photos.

In addition to specializing in their focus areas, the program also gives students a chance to meet and network with other students across Berkeley County School District; the program was open to any BCSD child who enjoys the arts, from fourth-grade and up.

Program leaders Sarah Red, music teacher at Mount Holly Elementary, and Brittany Sparks, who teaches ceramics at Lander University, doted on the students’ ongoing efforts as they prepared for the big finale.

“We’ve not missed a beat with this group,” Sparks said.

With the caliber of work the students have portrayed this summer, Red said she is looking forward to getting back into the swing of things this school year.

“This is some of the best work we’ve seen over the years,” she said.

group of students singing on stage

Jay Burnsworth, BCSD’s coordinator of innovation for visual and performing arts, said he was extremely impressed with the talent and work ethic students have shown this summer.

“All our STEP students are creating and performing beyond their years,” he said. “This year is a fresh start for all teachers, especially our fine arts professionals. As a district fine arts team we are truly excited to be back in the traditional education setting where we can collaborate, innovate and excel with our students.”

Usually the program wraps up with one big production with all the participating students. This year organizers decided to do three separate performances for dance, theater and music, plus an art show.

Among some of the musical performances, middle and high school vocalists performed a “Phantom of the Opera” medley, while instrumentalists performed a traditional Irish jig called “The Blarney Pilgrim.” Singers and instrumentalists came together at the end to perform a Swahili piece called “Muziki Vuma.”

Theater students put on three skits, each with an important message behind the performance: “Kindness Matters,” a take on the fable “The Mouse and the Lion”; “The Wish”, an update of the story “The Monkey’s Paw”; and “The King of the Pond,” an interpretation of Dr. Seuss’s “Yertle the Turtle.”

Dance students performed a ballet called “Rodeo”, an Irish step dance to an excerpt from “Lord of the Dance,” a modern piece called “Clap Hands” and then wrapped up with a jazz/hip hop number by various artists.

Following the performances, families were invited to drop in the student art exhibition.

student pottery

 For additional information about Fine Arts programs and activities in Berkeley County School District, please visit

Monica Kreber