Most local students have returned to school; teachers have taken up their place in multiple classrooms. Darke County Center for the Arts will soon go back to school as well with its highly valued Arts In Education series. DCCA, which first instituted the A.I.E. program in 1983 at the behest of local educator William Combs who credited the arts with motivating all that he achieved in life, annually presents outstanding professional performing artists to students in every grade of all local public schools at no cost to the students. This year’s A.I.E. presentations begin Sept. 20 and 21 with what will undoubtedly be sparkling performances by celebrated pianist Alpin Hong, whose visionary approach to arts education has made him a sought-after artist-in-residence worldwide. Alpin will present four A.I.E. shows for junior high students at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall; exact times are coordinated with school schedules and have not yet been determined, but these sessions are free and open to the public.
Despite his prestigious background, which includes performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the White House, the accomplished pianist’s accessible manner and delightful sense of humor immediately captivate young audiences as he effortlessly communicates his passion for music. Alpin believes that interaction with the arts can provide students with confidence, teaches perseverance, and helps develop self-expression, qualities necessary for success in any field. His previous memorable sessions for DCCA’s A.I.E. series resulted in spontaneous standing ovations followed by substantive question-and-answer sessions propelled by sincere and diverse queries from the awed audience of seventh and eighth graders, leaving a positive effect that continues to inspire those students yet today.
DCCA strives for just such an ultimate result for each of its Arts In Education presentations, which this year will once again display diversity as it inspires creativity and sparks imaginations. Kathakaar, The Spinning Storyteller, will communicate the history and culture of India to kindergarten through third grade students Oct. 29 through Nov. 2. Accomplished kathak dancer Jin Won will perform this unique art form, which emphasizes rhythmic foot movements harmonized to music as tales are spun and stories are revealed.
Folk, pop, and jazz artist Jonathon Kingham will present a song-writing workshop for area high schoolers Nov. 12 through 15. Along with his creative partner Ryan Shea Smith, the singer/songwriter will work with students to produce their own new songs while also performing some of his award-winning work as well as teaching basic music principles. Jonathon and Ryan are also repeat Arts In Education performers, whose earlier visit to our community still reverberates among those who previously enthusiastically participated in the rousing experience.
DCCA’s 2018-19 Arts In Education presentations will end March 4 through 8 when troubadour Lee Murdock shares timeless music and stories of the Great Lakes with fourth through sixth graders. Integrating history, language arts, and environmental education with the performing arts, Lee brings the history of the Great Lakes region to life through the songs of farmers, seamen, lumberjacks, and canal-builders and spins tales of legends and heroes. Traditional folk songs are complemented by music from contemporary writers to provide a living link with the heritage of our inland seas, enhancing understanding of historical and contemporary events through the arts.
Educators and students alike eagerly embrace DCCA’s Arts In Education presentations, which subtly educate while energetically entertaining youthful audiences who appreciate the opportunity to enjoy a brief break from their studies and participate in an event at which they have a really good time – and which will perhaps leave a lasting impact on their lives.