As September approaches, students across Darke County and the nation return to school, providing bittersweet moments for parents and youngsters alike.
Darke County Center for the Arts will return to school as well; DCCA’s eagerly anticipated new season of presentations includes four Arts In Education programs connecting students in every grade of all Greenville City and Darke County public schools with high quality performing artists who will engage, entertain, and educate their youthful audiences.
From Oct. 10-14, fourth- through sixth-graders will meet an incredible sled dog athlete and the woman who trains and races the working canine; in “Pulling Together,” sled dog racer and educator Tasha Stielstra uses interactive demonstrations and a multi-media presentation to teach lessons in teamwork as well as the core values essential to being kind and responsible citizens. Tasha and her husband operate Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Adventures and Racing where they take care of 150 dogs in the frigid temperatures of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a task that daily requires the “pulling together” of which she speaks.
Junior high students will be treated to a thrilling show presented at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall by AudioBody on Dec. 14 and 15. After performing for 10 years as comedians, jugglers, and Cirque du Soleil artists, brothers Matthew and Jason Tardy created their own show synthesizing music and comedy with technology, utilizing an arsenal of audio-visual inventions such as manipulatable LED light tubes, a 25-foot-wide electronic drum set, and jumpsuits that play music. Their antics, while obviously a whole lot of fun, will foster appreciation for art and music, inspire utilization of available technology to achieve goals, and engage students in critical thinking and problem solving. A longer version of this seriously spectacular show will also be presented to a wider audience as a Special Event in DCCA’s Coffeehouse series.
Energetic Irish fiddle and banjo music will set toes to tapping and hearts to jumping when “We Banjo 3” performs for high school students Jan. 30 through Feb. 2. Consisting of two sets of Galway brothers, this award-winning group has won international acclaim with their command of traditional instruments and their transcendent charm. Known as a banjo wizard, Enda Scahill is a leading author on Irish banjo techniques, while his brother Fergal is one of the most renowned fiddlers in Irish music. In addition to being seven-time All Ireland Banjo Champion, Martin Howley is the first Irish banjo player to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; his younger brother, David, is a hugely talented singer and instrumentalist. Their wondrous mixing of traditional Irish sounds with cutting-edge bluegrass Americana has made “We Banjo 3”a break-out hit wherever they appear; these rapidly rising stars will also grace the stage at St. Clair Memorial Hall on Feb. 3, as part of DCCA’s Artists Series.
April 6-10, kindergartners through third-graders will be treated to the outrageous talents of pianist Jason Farnham who, due to his amazing mastery of a toy piano, has been compared to Schroeder from the Peanuts cartoon as well as to renowned full-size piano players George Winston and Victor Borge. Melodies and rhythms will be demonstrated and discussed as the artist plays his techno-rock version of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” and introduces his original compositions which have graced the soundtracks of movies, TV shows, and commercials. Jason will also perform at The Coffee Pot in Greenville as part of DCCA’s Coffeehouse Series.
Donations from businesses, individuals, local foundations and corporations who understand the value of the arts as well as DCCA memberships and the schools themselves make possible this vital program, creating links to other cultures as well as to our own heritage and building bridges to the future. Darke County Center for the Arts’ “Connections” program-year theme resonates in myriad forms this and every season!
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.