The buffet was exquisitely prepared by about 120 students and the Performing Arts Department. A little of this, a little of that, and a whole lot of energy.
The Hubbard Performance Hall was just one of many spots on campus that showcased all that Loomis Chaffee has to offer as Family Weekend started Friday under bright blue skies on an autumn day fit for a fair. Indeed, “Harvest Fair” was one of the songs performed during the Performing Arts Sampler. Performed by the Wind Ensemble under the direction of faculty member David Winer, “Harvest Fair,” by Anthony Susi, was inspired by the Hebron (Conn.) Harvest Fair.
Also performing were the Jazz Improv Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Orchestra, and Dance Company. The music ranged from “Kashmir,” a Led Zeppelin song; to a Scottish folk song and an East African Swahili song. The program itself offered diversity, a quality that Loomis Chaffee strives to foster and celebrate in various ways.
Before the Performing Arts Sampler, Head of School Sheila Culbert addressed parents in Hubbard, mentioning that diversity as she shared that nearly 50 countries are represented by the student population. “That is one of the real strengths of the school, that we are able to have such an incredibly international population,” Sheila said. “And, of course, that is how students learn from one another. It is so thrilling to be engaging with people from all over the world.”
Under tents in the Rockefeller Quadrangle, parents spent time with their children, met their children’s friends and other parents, and renewed acquaintances. Some picked up a sample of honey, produced from the two beehives in the Loomis apiary, at a table set up by the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies. The Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion held an open house under another tent.
Richard Sontag was one of the parents enjoying time in the Rockefeller Quad. He and his wife have two children at Loomis, freshmen Blair and Dean Sontag.
Enabling their children to attend school with and live with people from around the United States and from other countries was a key factor in their choice of Loomis Chaffee, Richard said. “That was super, super important to us, that it was not a homogeneous population,” he said. “The second thing is that it is the opposite of book bans, the opposite of no. Yes, explore, entertain ideas, look at things. I don’t know what path they will go down, but I don’t want to narrow their choices. That’s why we came here, and we’re very happy.”
Walking across campus were Graham Goodkin and Laura Chittick, who have two children at Loomis, freshman Lucas Goodkin and junior Emma Goodkin.
“It really has everything you can ask for,” Laura said. “It is a beautiful, close-knit campus. What is so great about Loomis is you don’t have to be one type of kid. Both kids play some sports. The academics are really important to us. They have found really great teachers and friends from all over the world.”
Parents also visited the art exhibits in the Richmond Art Center, including “Accumulated Proximities: Howard el-Yasin + Flora Wilds,” in the Mercy Gallery and the Emerging Artists Show and the Community Art Show in the Barnes and Wilde galleries.
Rehearsals for the two fall plays, Our Town in the Back Box Theater and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in Norris Ely Orchard Theater, were open to parents as was a Friday afternoon Dance Company class in the Nichols Center’s Dance Studio.
The Loomis Chaffee Parents Association (LCPA) held an evening reception for parents in the Rockefeller Quad, and dinner was served in the Scanlan Campus Center.
On Saturday, a meet-and-greet with faculty was held in the Katharine Brush Library, where parents also could contribute to the LCPA-sponsored Give a Book to the Library program. An open house at the Pearse Hub for Innovation (PHI), a variety of College Office programming for parents, and a gathering for international families, were among the many other activities. Parents also had the opportunity to meet with their child’s advisor on Friday and Saturday.
Throughout the weekend parents could catch various athletics teams in action with an especially busy Saturday slate of games. The Frenchy’s On The Go food truck served up a bit of fall flavor, too: apple cider donuts.
About 900 family members got a taste on Friday and Saturday of what life is like on the Island.