Wow! As hard as it is to comprehend and acknowledge, Darke County Center for the Arts’ Arts In Education programming that presents high quality performing artists to students in all grade levels in each local public school has completed its 2017-2018 season. And each of the diverse performances helped confirm the wisdom of DCCA’s season theme “Arts Count,” demonstrating how the arts count in lives, making an immediate difference while also positively affecting the future.
Although all the AIE shows DCCA presented were excellent, none were better than the initial concert taken to schools during the week of October 23 through 27 when zydeco’s premier practitioner Terence Simien and his amazing band, the Zydeco Experience, presented “Creole For Kids” to fourth through sixth graders. While kids were grinning, waving their arms, and dancing in their seats, they were also learning history and geography as well as how music communicates across barriers, transcending boundaries to create bonds between disparate demographics. During this remarkable Arts In Education encounter, Terrance Simien’s lush representation of his people and their music also displayed the depth of diversity that contributes so richly to our country and the world, a lesson that the students will long remember.
From The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” vocal band Six Appeal led local junior high students on a truly magical tour of vocal music through the ages during their performances at historic Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on November 2 and 3. From the moment the a cappella sextet appeared on stage until the houselights came up following the hour-long session, students were captivated not only by the amazing sounds emanating from the singers, but also by the fascinating lessons being spun by the energetically appealing and talented musicians. Through interaction with an outstanding vocal band which has a passion for education as well as performance, these students not only enjoyed wondrously dynamic music, but also learned a great deal about musical history; and DCCA’s goal to provide cultural enrichment was met in a memorable manner for all concerned.
“Operation Lunch Line,” the multi-media show that was presented to kindergarten through third grade students in all local public schools from November 13 through 17, not only entertained with its songs and humorous storytelling, but also inspired students to use their super power to make the health-enhancing choices necessary to help them feel and look great. “Kid Power” is not only the role created and played by dynamic performer Bruce Wilson, but also the force that youngsters can use to achieve goals. The entire audience joined Kid Power on an amazing three-dimensional journey inside the body of a boy named Max who doesn’t feel so great due to his own poor choices when it comes to diet and exercise. The powers introduced during Kid Power’s performance were honed and sharpened for a lifetime of service, affirming the lasting influence of the informative and entertaining show.
Chase Padgett brought six characters to fascinating life in local high schools when he presented his unique one-man show, “Six Guitars,” from February 20 through 23. The talented actor/singer/guitarist realistically channeled an old bluesman, a classical guitar player, a country singer/songwriter, a jazz guitarist, a too-confessional folksinger, and an aspiring young rocker, each sharing his story and demonstrating the ability of music of all kinds to communicate directly to souls and minds. Similarities and differences in musical genres were explained and explored, but the profound message delivered and received was that music spans boundaries of time and space to powerfully connect people to each other and to the universe.
DCCA’s goal to make the arts count in our community was undoubtedly fulfilled by these four outstanding presentations that reached many who otherwise might not have had access to such high quality artists. The total impact on students’ lives is unmeasurable, but multiple benefits will undoubtedly accrue, and all of society will profit.
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.