AIE season has ended, but the benefits go on forever


By Marilyn Delk


Although Darke County Center for the Arts’ 2022-2023 season remains full of events for you to look forward to in the new year, DCCA’s Arts In Education program has been completed, ending in early December with the final performance of Cincinnati Children’s Theatre’s Seussified Christmas Carol on December 9. However, the magical effect of this series which takes professional artists to perform for students at every grade level in all local schools lives on, enhancing lives not only in the new year but well into the foreseeable future.

A capella group Fourth Avenue opened DCCA’s AIE series Sept. 19 through 23, performing for delighted high school audiences throughout Darke County. The group’s high energy and amazing vocal abilities immediately captivated and engaged students, who were soon enthusiastically clapping and singing along to iconic tunes with which they were not really familiar. Offering sage advice through their songs, the group advised the students to always be themselves while moving through life, enduring good times and bad, and to recognize that change, while difficult and challenging, can be a good thing inspiring dreams and brightening outlooks; their message encouraged a sense of wonder at the power of music to uplift spirits and invigorate minds.

The power of music continued to inspire enthusiastic response when singer/songwriter Luke McMaster performed at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall for junior high students October 19 and 20. Luke’s friendly and accessible AIE presentation demonstrated how the Motown sound provided the basis for the music of today, magically underlying the power and joy of it all. Luke explained that the music of Motown helped heal a divided nation, providing a peaceful link between sometimes warring political factions; his charismatic performance earned an amazing outpouring of applause and affection from the entranced audience.

DCCA’s AIE program provided something entirely different from Oct. 24 through 28 when fourth through sixth graders throughout the county enjoyed Tasha Stielstra and her sled dog Percy entertainingly demonstrating the discipline and values that lead to success not only in sled dog racing but also throughout life. Tasha’s presentation utilized elements of science, history, and geography to introduce students to her profession and its culture, as well as to explore the benefits of adherence to these core essential values: safety; kindness; responsibility.

All local kindergarten through third grade students were treated to an inspired and funny blending of a classic holiday tale by Charles Dickens with the wacky rhyming work of Dr. Seuss when DCCA presented Cincinnati Children’s Theatre’s Seussified Christmas Carol Dec. 5 through 9th. The talented cast had no difficulty keeping the youngsters engaged and entertained throughout this unique examination of the true value of wealth as well as the worth of being kind to others. Everyone in attendance had a wonderful time as DCCA’s Arts In Education Series continued to spread joy that will continue well beyond this holiday season.

Students and educators truly enjoy as well as appreciate the benefits bestowed through the arts. DCCA’s Arts In Education Series, established in 1983, is an essential component of the organization’s mission to encourage cultural enrichment in our community through the arts. Valuable messages are entertainingly delivered; vital lessons are learned, internalized, and retained, remaining meaningful throughout life.

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