Sunday, April 12, 2009

School for the Performing Arts

Meet Paula Maguire and Gary Burgess. They share a love of singing, music, and promoting the all of the arts. Paula, whose background in Canada was dance, theatre and education, is the founder and executive director of the School for the Performing Arts. Gary is the Artistic Director of the school, and was the original inspiration for the formation of the school, having set himself apart as a true Bermudian success and it is Paula's hope that he would be an inspiration to any young person interested in pursuing the arts.

Dr. Gary Burgess has been a professional musician for the past 40 years. He has performed as an opera singer on several continents, and in most of the major opera houses in the world. Dr. Burgess was a Professor of Voice and Opera at the State University of New York at Buffalo for 23 years. As the Director of the Opera Department he conducted and staged more than sixty productions. Dr. Burgess is a Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York in Buffalo. Since returning to Bermuda in 1998 he has held the position of Musical Director of the Bermuda Philharmonic Society and Program Coordinator with the Department of Cultural Affairs. In January 2003 Dr. Burgess received the National Opera Association Legacy Award for his contribution to music and opera.

Paula Maguire is a graduate of McGill University Department of Education and also of York University's Dance Department. While in Canada she choreographed, taught and performed on stage for many years. Paula's television work includes Sharon Lois and Bram's "The Elephant Show", and also a host of children's programs for TVO such as "Polka Dot Door" and "Telefrancais". Since moving to Bermuda in 1989, she established The Kidfest Foundation which offers free international theatrical performances for schoolchildren. Paula has performed with the G&S Society and Two Island Productions.

School for the Performing Arts (SPA) began operations January 2007. SPAs mission is to embrace and celebrate the diversity in Bermuda's community and engage those outside of the mainstream. SPA offers programming to all members of the community including Bermudian seniors, the developmentally challenged, the incarcerated at Westgate and students at the Educational Centre. Rather than focusing on the 'best and the brightest' we are committed to the ideal that every individual is entitled to expression through their creative spirit. The school is composed of international educators who are specialists in their field. Our teachers also work within the Ministry of Education to support, assist and enhance the work of its educators.

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