‘Brandywine Goes to Oz' for final fashion show

Submitted photos Preparing for Brandywine Heights High School's final fashion show, Mrs. Oswald with Sarah Beitler, Claire Jones and Rebekah Madsen working on fashion show dresses.
Submitted photos Preparing for Brandywine Heights High School's final fashion show, model Hannah Thorp and design Cindy Snyder and their very large witch's hat.

Brandywine Heights High School students will perform their 18th and final fashion show ‘Brandywine Goes Oz’ on May 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. in Schaeffer Auditorium at Kutztown University.

The show will also be a farewell to art teacher Suzanne Oswald, who began the fashion shows at the school, and who is leaving the district at the end of the year.

“I like the show because it’s a wonderful all talent encompassing show,” said Oswald. We showcase music, acting, dance and artistic talents. “We utilize carpentry and set building skills and draw on the best of all that our student body has to offer. It’s just all around creative fun.”

Art teachers Michael Daddario and Shara Sweitzer have been part of the production of the shows as well, partnering with Oswald and the students to create a more thrilling show each year.

The theme for this year is good and evil. According to Daddario, there are vignettes that complement scenes from the Wizard of Oz, but each of the outfits the students create will correspond with the theme of good and evil.

While the past years allowed only junior and senior students to participate in the show, this year students from all the grades are invited to participate. They are also given the choice to model their own creations or choose someone else to model their outfits.

“I think it is a good experience because it offers students an opportunity to create a piece of art for a living, mobile human being,” said Oswald. “Most importantly, it offers a venue for the community to see some of the incredible potential of Brandywine’s art students.”

Senior student and Art Club secretary Rebekah Madsen is participating in the show, potentially modeling her monkey costume, but also has her sister modeling the dress she has created for the show.

Madsen started attending the shows 10 years ago, and has been watching them for a while. She also participated in last year’s show.

“They’re big, extravagant, and it’s like a big community coming together and just creating something that’s really beautiful,” said Madsen.

However, she is sad the shows are coming to an end.

“It’s a sad thing, we’re all stressed out but we almost don’t want the stress to end because once it’s over, it’s over forever,” she said.

“This, being the last fashion show, is bitter sweet,” said Oswald. “The shows have been a wonderful learning experience for the students, our audience and myself. I will miss camaraderie and working with students through the creative process. I will also miss seeing the students’ pride and audience appreciation of their work. The show was an event that was attended by young and old and with each show we drew in a larger more diverse audience. It truly was a one of a kind experience.”

Not only will the shows be missed, but Suzanne Oswald’s departure will leave a gap in the lives of the students and teachers she worked with while at Brandywine Heights High School.

“Mrs. Oswald and I had the opportunity to work 20 years together,” said Daddario. “We saw this start off from a very small, little program to something now that has become pretty much well known by the community and something that the community looks forward to and that the students look forward to. I’m a little heartbroken in the sense that I will miss working with my partner.”

“It taught me everything,” said Madsen. “Every good quality that I have, it’s from the art department and then the fashion show.”