Darke County Center for the Arts’ just concluded 40th anniversary season was filled with gems, including brilliant performances enriching the lives of children and their families.
During its Ruby Anniversary year, DCCA presented a shining array of artists in all local public schools through its Arts In Education series, as well as sparkling shows enticing audiences of all ages to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall to experience the many-faceted Family Theatre Series.
Opening on Sunday, Nov. 18 with the unique blend of action, comedy, music, juggling, and circus that comprises “Playing By Air,” the Family Theatre Series’ first show delighted children and adults with an electrifying display of lights, color, motion, and musical instruments that flew through the air. Utilizing breathtaking feats, original inventions, and non-stop spectacle, master showmen Michael Karas, Ted Joblin, and Jacob Weiss created an imaginative theatrical experience evoking laughter, inspiring imaginations, spurring creativity, and leaving indelible memories that linger long after the show has ended.
On Sunday, Feb. 10, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s innovative puppetry, striking scenic effects, and evocative music brought to life Marcus Pfister’s beloved storybook Rainbow Fish, which reveals how the most beautiful fish in the sea gains happiness by sharing his most valuable possession with others.
Also including companion tales Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea and Opposites, the sparkling production shimmered with creativity and wonder, delighting youngsters and charming adults with its flowing fluorescent figures magically manipulated by ninja puppeteers executing amazing illusions that made the stories spring to life.
Underneath A Magical Moon closed the Family Theatre Series season on Sunday, April 7; this production from Tutti Frutti, an international touring theatre company based in the U.K., retells the story of Peter Pan from the perspective of a twenty-first century Wendy Darling, flying the audience into a fantastical world of adventure where anything can happen. The accessible and innovative musical lit up imaginations and provided a fitting sprinkling of sparkling fairy dust to joyously end DCCA’s shining season.
Students in all local schools were treated to a treasure trove of artistry through DCCA’s Arts In Education series during the past school year. Junior high youngsters traveled to St. Clair Memorial Hall on Sept. 20 and 21 to experience the amazing talents of charismatic pianist Alpin Hong, whose visionary approach to arts education communicates his passion for music while also teaching perseverance and helping students develop self-confidence, using music to help kids become who they really are.
Kindergarten through third grade students were entranced with the history and culture of India as communicated through the talents of kathak dancer Jin Won when DCCA took her program “Kathakaar—The Spinning Storyteller” to the schools Oct. 29 through Nov. 2. Ably, accompanied by tabla artist Mike Lukshis, Jin Won spun tales and revealed the culture of a faraway land in an accessible, enjoyable, and memorable manner, promoting the ideal of living harmoniously with others in this diverse world.
Folk, pop, and jazz artist Jonathon Kingham presented a song-writing workshop for area high schoolers Nov. 12 through 15. Along with his creative partner Ryan Shea Smith, the singer/songwriter worked with students to create their own new songs while also performing some of his award-winning work as well as teaching basic music principles. While it’s possible that no musical masterpieces were produced, each session constructed an actual song, provoking enthusiastic response from those assembled while inspiring creativity, strengthening self-esteem, and producing a warm sense of togetherness shared by all.
Troubadour Lee Murdock ended DCCA’s 2018-2019 Arts In Education presentations March 4 through 8, sharing 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 brought the history of the Great Lakes region to life through the songs of farmers, seamen, lumberjacks, and canal-builders. Traditional folk songs complemented by music from contemporary writers provided a living link to the heritage of our inland seas, enhancing understanding of historical and contemporary events through the arts.
Darke County Center for the Arts treasures its brilliant past, and radiantly embraces the future through glimmering presentations to our youth that shine on.