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Wadena Rotary Club celebrates local artists

Carlson received a letter award and a superior award. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal1 / 14
Several pieces of artwork were on display. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal2 / 14
Student artwork Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal3 / 14
The banquet is a chance to honor students that may not be involved with athletics. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal4 / 14
Student artwork Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal5 / 14
Alec Larson received recognition for his work in choir and drama. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal6 / 14
Maggie Carlson has been a member of band for seven years. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal7 / 14
A congratulatory dinner was served prior to the awards. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal8 / 14
Vocal Teacher, Mike Ortmann, embraces one of his students during the award ceremony. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal9 / 14
Mackenzie Salge was the recipient of the Directors Award for her involvement in band. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal10 / 14
Carlson skillfully played the marimba for the attendees. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal11 / 14
Don Niles, President of the Wadena Rotary, led the banquet proceedings. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal12 / 14
The event recognized achievements in art ranging from band to drama. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal13 / 14
WDC students involved in drama. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal14 / 14

The Wadena Rotary Club completed their 37th annual Fine Arts Banquet Monday night. Dozens of artists and intellectuals from band, drama, choir, knowledge bowl, and art classes packed the commons of WDC Middle/High School. Students enjoyed an evening of dining and art appreciation.

Don Niles, President of the Wadena Rotary Club, led the evening along with several faculty members.

"It's important because there's an opportunity to honor students that are participating in meaningful ways that aren't necessarily related to athletics," Niles said.

The evening was filled with applause and appreciation. Just a few feet away from the podium was a mini art gallery showcasing various pieces of art made by WDC students. One student even got show skills first hand to the attentive audience. Maggie Carlson, a junior, was called to her Marimba to play "Celebration March." The Marimba is a large percussion instrument that appears to be a large xylophone. Carlson stated that the piece she played took around four months to learn. She began swiftly striking the instrument as a somber tone filled the commons. The piece was complex and Carlson's expression of focus was unbreakable. Every strike was timed, accurate, and on point. When asked what her favorite aspect of music was, she responded by saying, "I think it's really cool once we get the pieces down, to hear all the different instruments blend together." Carlson has been playing in band for seven years. During the banquet she received a letter award and a superior award.

Mackenzie Salge could be seen carrying a large plaque around the commons after the banquet. She received the coveted Directors Award for band. This award is given to a student intensely involved in band and its musical endeavours. She earned a great deal of praise and applause during the event. "Such a fun experience to make music with everyone," said Salge. She explained that getting to meet all the different people was a fantastic experience.

Salge is a senior and has been in band since the sixth grade.

Drama made up a rather large portion of the proceedings. The drama instructor, Beth Hawkins, wanted to honor the group as a whole for their work in the dramatic arts. She also urged others to join in the fun and try something new, like being in a play. Alec Larson was recognized for his work in choir and in drama. He was recently in a one act play, 'Tracks.' Larson is a renaissance man with a passion for acting and singing. When asked what he enjoys most about drama, he said, "Getting up on stage and interacting with people that enjoy drama as much as I do."

Dozens of awards were disbursed with 66 students receiving various certificates and plaques. The Wadena Rotary Club's Fine Art Banquet is a long standing tradition to honor those that may not appear in the field or on the court but deserve to be seen and venerated.