Kirk’s Studio rocks Mesa Arts Center!

Students from Kirk's Studio for the Performing Arts take to the Mesa Arts Center stage this weekend with a variety of vocal and musical selections from classic to contemporary

When my 17-year-old daughter came home after seeing “Mamma Mia!” at ASU Gammage recently, she was especially excited to tell me that Luis Gonzelez and his family had been seated right behind her.

We’ve been Arizona Diamondbacks season ticket holders from the very beginning, so when I saw Saturday night’s game on my husband’s calendar, I knew an arts adventure would have to wait for another night.

I’ve long had tickets to Phoenix Theatre’s “Weekend of Change” featuring two performances with social justice themes, both of which Lizabeth was a part of developing. So setting Saturday night aside for a Diamondbacks game only seems fair.

A young performer from last year's Kirk's Studios Showcase demonstrates the unique confidence and poise that comes from music lessons and live performance opportunities

Still, I find myself wishing I could be two places at once — because Saturday night is Kirk’s Studio’s 2011 Showcase, where students will be rocking the Mesa Arts Center with vocal and musical performance of classic and contemporary favorites. Think keyboard, drums, guitar, violin and more.

I first met the fine folks at Kirk’s Studio when I stopped by their booth at the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine 2011 Camp Fair at the Phoenix campus of Tesseract School, which serves middle school and high school students. I remember being impressed by the teen volunteering at their display that day.

Saturday night is your chance to be impressed by a whole bunch of Kirk’s Studio talent. “What a thrill it would be,” says founder and director Kirk Taylor, “for these kids to look out and see a sold-out audience.” Tickets are only $10 each and easy to order through the MAC box office or by calling 480-227-0546.

Taking lessons at a studio means more opportunities to work with other performers -- a great way to enhance social skills and foster teamwork

I’m heading to the Orpheum Theater tonight for the first of a two-night Showcase being presented by students of Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix. Lizabeth is a member of the school Glee/Show Choir that will open the evening with the song “21 Guns” from the musical “American Idiot” (a show you can see next season at ASU Gammage in Tempe). James will be attending tomorrow night.

We know firsthand the training and preparation such performances demand, and respect the hard work and dedication of teachers and artists who help make it happen. Parents with children who study music at Kirk’s Studio feel every bit as proud of their children’s musical journeys.

You don't have to know a child or teen performing in the Kirk's Studio Showcase to enjoy this evening of music and song

Parent John Papez attended last year’s Kirk’s Studio Showcase and had this to share after watching daughter Emily perform: “The performances were the most talented of any recitals that I have seen. When kids like what they are doing, they certainly have a higher degree of dedication.”

Another parent, Julie Reinhardt, praised Kirk’s Studio for making the Showcase an “amazing” experience for kids and parents alike. “Thank you so much,” she told them, “for giving my kids the opportunity to feel like rock stars for a day!”

This year’s event features nearly 200 young musicians combining forces for a “musical extravaganza.” Kids love watching other kids perform, so take the family along for the show. Your children and teens will recognize plenty of the songs — which include “Fireworks” (Katy Perry) and “Just The Way You Are” (Bruno Mars). If you still think Mars is a candy bar, just keep mum. You can listen and learn. (No one has to know we’re still living in the ’70s.)

If you like what you see, check out one of three Kirk’s Studio for the Performing Arts locations. There’s one in Mesa, another in North Scottdale and even one at Desert Ridge. “The studio,” shares Taylor, “offers private and group instruction in piano, voice, guitar and a wide range of instruments.” This makes it easier for a child new to music lessons to find just the right fit.

Whether music studio or baseball diamond, kids benefit from being part of a group with shared interests

Bat. Bassoon. Baseball. Bass. It’s all good.

— Lynn

Coming up: “Countdown to the Tony Awards®” series featuring local twists on Broadway’s biggest night (June 1-12)

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