Writer Margaret Atwood’s statement that a voice is a human gift to be used and cherished could provide the motto for the upcoming Darke County Center for the Arts 2015-2016 Arts In Education season featuring “Voices.” DCCA annually takes outstanding professional artists to all local public schools to perform for students in every grade level except junior high. But those seventh and eighth grade students are not neglected; they are invited to majestic Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville for a performance.

Thanks to financial support from local sponsors, DCCA members, and the school districts, all of the shows are free of charge to the students and are open to the public. These memorable AIE performances speak to youngsters, many of whom have very little exposure to the arts. Lessons are learned, lives are enriched, minds are informed, horizons are broadened; and all that is achieved while the audience is being mightily entertained.

Embodying the concept articulated by Atwood, Kim and Reggie Harris speak out for hope and justice and celebrate life with their amazing voices and unlimited musical abilities. The iconic duo uses songs, stories, and audience participation in an award-winning multi-media presentation to tell the fascinating history of the Underground Railroad; their performances in local schools September 22-26 will teach kindergarten through third grade students the inspiring story of committed citizens from all walks of life who triumphed over injustice.

Mad River Theater Works has been a voice for the people of rural and small-town America for nearly 40 years. Based in Logan County, the company’s mission is to illuminate complex issues by creating vibrant and evocative plays based on American history and folklore. From October 13-16, Mad River Theater Works will present the legendary tale of John Henry for students in grades four through six. Using storytelling, drama, and original music to bring the story of an American hero to life, the play speaks to the very contemporary problem of humanity’s struggle with ever-advancing technology.

A cappella music is currently sweeping the music industry, so what better choice for DCCA’s “Voices” season than a group named VoicePlay. As the name implies, the five-member ensemble manufactures a full-spectrum of music without playing any instruments other than their amazing voices. VoicePlay will demonstrate their techniques and methods for high school students from January 19-22; they will also present a full-fledged concert for all ages at St. Clair Memorial Hall on Saturday, January 23, as part of DCCA’s Artists Series.

While Mad River Theater Works rightly describes what they do as “bringing history to life,” Living Voices bills its purpose as “bringing life to history.” Living Voices presents dynamic solo performances uniquely combined with archival film to turn history into a moving personal journey. Through the Eyes of a Friend presents the world of Anne Frank as told by a fictional best friend— actually a composite of contemporary accounts—in this production which is returning to St. Clair Memorial Hall February 10-11 for junior high students at the request of local educators who were quite favorably impressed by the production when it came to our community a few years ago. The voice of history eloquently speaks in this multi-media presentation.

The voice is a gift to be used and cherished, and DCCA’s 2015-2016 Arts In Education presentations will demonstrate the value of that gift. For more information, contact DCCA at 547-0908 or [email protected].

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