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The students in the show choir workshop at Creative Connections rehearse "You're The One That I Want" from "Grease" as their finale.
The students in the show choir workshop at Creative Connections rehearse "You're The One That I Want" from "Grease" as their finale. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The students in the show choir workshop at Creative Connections rehearse "You're The One That I Want" from "Grease" as their finale.
The students in the show choir workshop at Creative Connections rehearse "You're The One That I Want" from "Grease" as their finale. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Baumholder's Sydney Giefer, Keyton Daniels of Incirlik and Rota's Gabriella Bastidas, from left, rehearse a number from "Grease" in the show choir workshop at this year's Creative Connections.
Baumholder's Sydney Giefer, Keyton Daniels of Incirlik and Rota's Gabriella Bastidas, from left, rehearse a number from "Grease" in the show choir workshop at this year's Creative Connections. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The show choir workshop rehearses a song from "Grease" at Creative Connections. This year 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the week-long performing and visual arts symposium.
The show choir workshop rehearses a song from "Grease" at Creative Connections. This year 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the week-long performing and visual arts symposium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
In the drawing workshop Veronica Mukosii works on one of her pieces at this year's Creative Connections. Titled "Deliberate Marks ­— Drawing with Styles," students in the workshop worked with a variety of drawing media and techniques for their art works.
In the drawing workshop Veronica Mukosii works on one of her pieces at this year's Creative Connections. Titled "Deliberate Marks ­— Drawing with Styles," students in the workshop worked with a variety of drawing media and techniques for their art works. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Instructor Wade Krauchi gives Alconbury's Ashley Steele some tips in the drawing workshop at Creative Connections. This year 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the week-long performing and visual arts symposium.
Instructor Wade Krauchi gives Alconbury's Ashley Steele some tips in the drawing workshop at Creative Connections. This year 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the week-long performing and visual arts symposium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Aviano's Zach Erskine, right, and Taylor Pucket from AFNORTH leap through the air in the dance workshop at Creative Connections.
Aviano's Zach Erskine, right, and Taylor Pucket from AFNORTH leap through the air in the dance workshop at Creative Connections. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A group of dancers try out a few steps as they wait for another group to finish rehearsing at Creative Connections. Dance was one of 11 workshops at the annual visual and performing arts workshop.
A group of dancers try out a few steps as they wait for another group to finish rehearsing at Creative Connections. Dance was one of 11 workshops at the annual visual and performing arts workshop. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Galvin Maltais of Alconbury, left, and Xavier Thomas of Patch use electronic keyboards and computers to write and arrange songs in the music arranging workshop at this year's Creative Connections. This year, 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the week-long performing and visual arts symposium.
Galvin Maltais of Alconbury, left, and Xavier Thomas of Patch use electronic keyboards and computers to write and arrange songs in the music arranging workshop at this year's Creative Connections. This year, 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the week-long performing and visual arts symposium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Bahrain's Jillian Mouton uses a knife to cut into her painting in the watercolor workshop at Creative Connections.  Mouton, along with other students in the class, cut into their works in strategic places and by folding the cuts out, turned them into 3-D pieces.
Bahrain's Jillian Mouton uses a knife to cut into her painting in the watercolor workshop at Creative Connections. Mouton, along with other students in the class, cut into their works in strategic places and by folding the cuts out, turned them into 3-D pieces. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Students in the watercolor class at this year's Creative Connections discuss a student's art work. Creative Connections is an annual DODDS-Europe arts symposium featuring workshops in the visual and performing arts.
Students in the watercolor class at this year's Creative Connections discuss a student's art work. Creative Connections is an annual DODDS-Europe arts symposium featuring workshops in the visual and performing arts. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Heidelberg's Audrey Daly as Juliet does not seem too impressed when meeting Romeo for the first time, as she rehearses "The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet" in the drama workshop at Creative Connections.
Heidelberg's Audrey Daly as Juliet does not seem too impressed when meeting Romeo for the first time, as she rehearses "The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet" in the drama workshop at Creative Connections. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Lakenheath's Zachary Eversman, Joseph Viana of Patch and Dontay Graham from Sigonella, from left, rehearse "The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet" in the drama workshop at Creative Connections. Viana had the title role as Romeo.
Lakenheath's Zachary Eversman, Joseph Viana of Patch and Dontay Graham from Sigonella, from left, rehearse "The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet" in the drama workshop at Creative Connections. Viana had the title role as Romeo. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Alyson Cardenas of Lakenheath works on her piece in the digital imaging techniques workshop at Creative Connections. This year, 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the performing and visual arts symposium.
Alyson Cardenas of Lakenheath works on her piece in the digital imaging techniques workshop at Creative Connections. This year, 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the performing and visual arts symposium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Frida Rocha from Baumholder , right, gives Maeve Carlos of Naples some advice as Carlos works on her project in the digital imaging techniques workshop at Creative Connections.
Frida Rocha from Baumholder , right, gives Maeve Carlos of Naples some advice as Carlos works on her project in the digital imaging techniques workshop at Creative Connections. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Schweinfurt's Shaniquah Lipki, right, plays the cello at the advanced strings workshop at Creative Connections rehearsed the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean". At center is Sierra Guthrie of Naples and at left is Ankara's Abby Hansen.
Schweinfurt's Shaniquah Lipki, right, plays the cello at the advanced strings workshop at Creative Connections rehearsed the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean". At center is Sierra Guthrie of Naples and at left is Ankara's Abby Hansen. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Menwith Hill's Brendan Grant tries his hand at calligraphy at this year's Creative Connections. Calligraphy was one of 11 workshops offered at the annual visual and performing arts symposium.
Menwith Hill's Brendan Grant tries his hand at calligraphy at this year's Creative Connections. Calligraphy was one of 11 workshops offered at the annual visual and performing arts symposium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the video production workshop at Creative Connections shoot a scene for their production.
Members of the video production workshop at Creative Connections shoot a scene for their production. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Ramstein's Spencer Coakwell, left, edits a video of Aviano's Maria Mansfield, right, as she and Andrew Lewis view another scene on Maria's computer. All three were participating in the video production workshop at Creative Connects.
Ramstein's Spencer Coakwell, left, edits a video of Aviano's Maria Mansfield, right, as she and Andrew Lewis view another scene on Maria's computer. All three were participating in the video production workshop at Creative Connects. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Vilseck's Sali Kamara puts finishing touches on one of her works in the mixed media workshop at Creative Connections, the annual DODDS-Europe visual and performing arts symposium.
Vilseck's Sali Kamara puts finishing touches on one of her works in the mixed media workshop at Creative Connections, the annual DODDS-Europe visual and performing arts symposium. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

OBERWESEL, Germany — Outside, in the crisp fall air, Incirlik sophomore Keyton Daniels belted out a song he’d just written, strumming a ukulele. Inside, three teenagers with guitars played and sang the song, “Say It Ain’t So” by the rock group Weezer.

They were all technically on lunch break, but that didn’t stifle the creative energy of 153 high school students from 25 Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe who gathered at a youth hostel in Oberwesel, Germany, for the annual Creative Connections program.

“Everyone here’s as weird as you are, that’s what I like about it,” Daniels said.

The students, selected from a pool of more than 550 applicants, had 11 workshops to choose from during the week, focusing on various art forms, culminating in an exhibit and performance at the end of the week.

The theme of this year’s visual and performing arts symposium was “Inspiration,” something the students in attendance said they had no trouble finding.

“You get to let loose for a week and be yourself, live art,” said Ramstein senior Mark Davis, who was getting ready for a solo in the song, “You’re the One That I Want” from the Broadway musical, “Grease,” as part of the “Show Choir” workshop.

Brussels sophomore Veronica Mukosii, participating in the workshop “Deliberate Marks – Drawing With Styles,” agreed.

“It feels like an art college, like you’ve already graduated,” Mukosii said of the program. “Everyone understands you; it really feels like home here.”

While most of the students during a visit Tuesday seemed to be sporting perpetual smiles, the symposium was anything but a vacation. After a full day of being pushed to their artistic limits in specific disciplines, the kids participated in bonus workshops, dances, concerts, variety shows, study halls and late-night cramming sessions of memorizing lines.

On the performing arts side, a mix of whimsical selections lightened the otherwise demanding work load. The show choir rehearsed “Grease,” the dance team practiced creative choreography, the music arranging class was busy mastering music production skills and the kids participating in the drama workshop drew smiles with their mini-production combining Dr. Seuss and “Romeo and Juliet.”

Advanced Strings instructor Cary Sand, a teacher at Liberty Intermediate School in England, challenged his students to perfect a blending of swashbuckling sea songs from the “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

“If we do that in the concert, I’m going to walk the plank,” Sand joked to his class, after a missed note at rehearsal.

On the visual arts side, students used a variety of techniques to create themed artwork in the mixed media workshop, students in the video production class were busy making two movies, other students mastered Photoshop software and worked with graphic tablets to create unique posters.

A calligraphy workshop, a first time offering this year, mixed Eastern and Western themes.

Menwith Hill junior Brendan Grant, a first-time Creative Connections attendee, said he had experience with Western calligraphy before, but was surprised at what the Eastern style entailed.

“It’s almost like being pulled into another world,” Grant said.

In the watercolor workshop, students were pulled out of their comfort zone, as they tried to bring intensity to an art medium that usually isn’t associated with boldness. Kids not only spent hours perfecting watercolor pieces, but then, with nervous hands, made precise incisions to their artwork, creating a unique three-dimensional piece.

“It’s a free environment to explore and draw,” said Alconbury senior Ashley Steele, as she worked with charcoal and erasers in a drawing workshop. “I thought it was frustrating at first, but as I’m doing more, it’s starting to click.”

Symposium students were encouraged to work together to come up with ideas and inspiration, as evidenced in the “Digital Imaging Techniques” workshop, where seniors Maeve Carlos from Naples and Frida Rocha from Baumholder shared techniques.

“It’s very refreshing to see such a focus on the arts,” Carlos said.

Students’ work and photos from the event can be viewed at www.doddshost.net. When prompted, type in “dodeateam” and “achieve09” for the username and password, respectively.

pattonm@estripes.osd.mil

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