Tag Archives: Young Arts Arizona

We take care of our own

Work by 8th grade student Luis Velasquez exhibited by Young Arts Arizona

Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own” topped the set list at last night’s Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. I sat spellbound in Scottsdale as Springsteen and the band rocked their way through 19 tunes heavy laden with tales of upheaval and undying optimism.

Work by 6th grader Elias Galvin Rendon

The Apollo Theater concert was broadcast live by Sirius XM in celebration of its tenth anniversary, coinciding with the recent release of Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” album. Yes kids, that’s what some of us old timers call them. Without apology.

Critics have weighed in on both, and I find those from The New York Times most intriguing. But my own read on the concert has a different vibe. The Apollo Theater concert was simply Springsteen taking care of his own. Like all the best storytelllers, Springsteen listens. And he hears people hurting.

Work by 3rd grader Elizabeth Navarro

Hold tight to your anger. Don’t fall to your fear. Put old skills to new uses. Seize the break of blue in a long cloudy sky. Remember those dealt injustice, and help those suffering now. Be the change. Make the change. And enjoy the rock and roll ride — Springsteen’s vehicle for soothing the soul while calling heart and hands to action.

As Springsteen wove older works into newer “Wrecking Ball” fare, the continuity of his decades-long drive for social justice was clear. So too was his genuine gratitude for those who came before — including many an artist who’s graced the Apollo Theater stage. Springsteen is a soul man. And soul must be shared.

Some folks are especially gifted at simultaneously running with and passing the torch. Springsteen is among them. After longtime friend and fellow musician Clarence Clemons died last summer, the torch went to nephew Jake Clemons — now part of “the E Street horns.” The Apollo Theater concert was rich with brass, choral music and strings that make the band’s heart beat just a little louder.

Work by 3rd grader Gabriel Ramirez

Gospel. Soul. Rap. Rock and roll. Irish jigs and mariachi melodies. It’s not your mother’s Springsteen. Or perhaps it is. I remember taking our two daughters, then in high school, to Springsteen’s last concert in Phoenix. They were equally moved by the music and the food collection boxes scattered throughout the venue’s main hall. Music feeds the soul. But it takes more to feed the hungry.

Hence Springteen’s shout out, near the end of the Apollo Theater concert, to fans who support the work of WhyHunger — and to its executive director Bill Ayres, who co-founded the organization with singer/songwriter Harry Chapin (whose brother Tom Chapin recently performed here in the Valley).

Work by 5th grader Victoria Anchondo

Like plenty of Springsteen fans, we won’t be in the house for any “Wrecking Ball” concerts, but there’s much we can do to move our own communities past hard times. Learn more about WhyHunger. Support our local food banks. Advocate for just public policies. Promote the arts that sustain us. And rise up.

Wherever this flag’s flown, we take care of our own. — Bruce Springsteen

— Lynn

Note: Saint Mary’s Food Bank Alliance presents its 11th annual “Kids Cafe Open” on March 30 to raise funds for battling child hunger in Arizona — click here for details. Artwork featured in this post was part of the Young Arts Arizona “Living the Dream, Passing the Torch” exhibit celebrating MLK Day 2012 at the Arizona State Capitol.

Coming up: Rising Youth Theatre shares diverse youth perspectives

Advertisements

Charlotte’s Web

Young Arts Arizona worked with children and teens from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale to create custom artwork you can enjoy when you see the show

Valley Youth Theatre opened its production of the play “Charlotte’s Web,” directed by Lauren Antioco, this weekend. It’s a Joseph Robinette adaptation of E.B. White’s classic book about friendship, loyalty and self-sacrifice. And it’s beautifully done.

Charlotte's Web cast members get ready to meet and greet fans

The set design by Dori Brown in striking, as is lighting design by D.J. Selmeyer. Costume design by Karol Cooper perfectly captures the small farmtown setting from head to toe. Sound design by Clearwing Production is also exceptional. Taken together, they make “Charlotte’s Web” one of the best designed pieces of youth theater I’ve seen to date.

Sam Primack (Wilbur) poses with two young fans after the show

The production was also exceptionally well cast. Lead roles went to Hannah Blaile of Arcadia High School (Charlotte), Sophia Drapeau of Veritas Preparatory Academy (Fern) and Sam Primack of Cherokee Elementary (Wilbur). Primack has plenty of acting experience, and it shows. Together, the show’s 29 cast members create a cohesive, capable ensemble.

Charlotte's Web cast members pose for photos after the show

I especially enjoyed performances by the actors noted above — plus Jamie Grossman of Ironwood High School (Edith Zuckerman), Audrey Nelson of Archway Classical Academy (Little Lamb) and Aaron Zweiback (Templeton) of Arizona School for the Arts. Also Erik Wilson (Avery), a medieval history buff who didn’t note a school in his program bio.

These young ladies came out to see Sophia perform the role of Fern

A mother I talked to during intermission shared that the production had just the right balance for her two young daughters — holding their interest without being too loud or busy. To producing artistic director Bobb Cooper’s credit, “Charlotte’s Web” is just simple, elegant storytelling that shows real respect for young viewers.

Future teacher Audrey Nelson (Little Lamb) signs autographs after the show

“Charlotte’s Web” is being performed at Valley Youth Theatre through Feb. 19. Next up is Julianne Moore’s “Freckleface Strawberry” and “The Wiz” (which’ll be performed at the Herberger Theater Center). When you go, stay after the show to enjoy meeting cast members, who love signing autographs and talking with young fans.

You'll enjoy both visual and performing arts at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix

Also take time to enjoy “Charlotte’s Web” inspired artwork created by children and teens from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale through Young Arts Arizona. Valley Youth Theatre is one of several venues that displays Young Arts Arizona works — and pictures currently exhibited at VYT feature pigs, geese, spiders and webs sporting words ala Charlotte herself.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about VYT shows, spring break camps, performing arts classes and more.

Coming up: Don’t mock the presidents!

Talking to kids about 9/11

Artwork from an Arizona Capitol exhibit by Young Arts of Arizona

Dispensing parenting pearls is easier than following them — hence my proficiency now in urging others to talk sensibly and sensitively with their children about 9/11 a decade after my own children experienced far too much television footage filled with fire, tears and trauma.

They’re old enough now that I can indulge my instinct to spend much of the weekend following live coverage of 9/11 memorial events — in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania — on television, radio and internet. And I can reflect on ways I might have done a better job talking with them about 9/11 in its immediate aftermath.

Children born in 2001 are now elementary school students old enough to feel genuine curiosity about events of that day, but young enough to need adult support as they make their way through atttempting to grasp and come to terms with them.

The national 9/11 Memorial in New York City, which provides information on the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath at www.911memorial.org, offers several
“broad guidelines” helpful to parents of children from preschoolers to teens:

  • Listen. Actively listen to their thoughts, attend to their body language, validate their emotions, and encourage respectful conversation and discussions.
  • Don’t avoid difficult conversations. Let the child’s interests and thoughts guide the conversation. Use age-appropriate language and be aware of your tone, reassuring children about their own safety and allowing them to express concerns about 9/11 and its aftermath in more depth.
  • Answer questions about the attacks with facts. Be prepared for your child to ask questions about death when dicussing 9/11, and to answer these questions in a way that is honest and developmentally-appropriate.
  • Acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. If you can’t answer your child’s question, be honest. Use the opportunity to model yourself as a learner, and to explore the questions together.
  • Be specific. The story of 9/11 is actually thousands of individual stories. Highlight those specific stories to help humanize the events, and avoid stereotypes and simplifications.
  • Emotions vary. Children’s responses vary widely depending on their age, personality, actual or perceived ethnic or religious background, connection to the attacks, and exposure to other past traumatic experiences.
  • Monitor the TV and internet. Programs may include footage from 9/11 itself, and include scenes that are not appropriate for children to view at all or without supervision.
  • Know yourself. Recognizing your feelings beforehand and then sharing them honestly with your children offers them a model in their own difficult conversations and will help engender a safe, trusting environment.
  • Emphasize hope. Help your children recognize how their own compassion can prevent future acts of intolerance and violence by reminding them to express their ideas respectfully and to treat people who are different from themselves with kindness.

The 9/11 Memorial website offers several resources for parents and teachers — including lesson plans and 9/11 FAQs. Also sections on “Tribute Art & 9/11” and “The Spirit of Volunteerism.” Plus links to other “suggested resources.”

Artwork exhibited by Young Arts Arizona at the Arizona State Capitol

Additional tips are available online from Teaching Tolerance at www.tolerance.org and 9-11 Heroes at www.9-11heroes.us.

Whatever the topic, children need to know that it’s okay to have questions, to express their thoughts and feelings. They need to know their parents will listen with an open mind, not passing judgement or pushing their own agenda.

We can’t guarantee that our children will never come to harm, but we can offer them spaces and places that feel physically, emotionally and intellectually safe.

— Lynn

Note: Artwork by children at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center recently exhibited at the Arizona State Capitol by Young Arts Arizona (www.youngartsaz.org). Photos by Lynn Trimble.

Coming up: Broadway remembers 9/11, Arizona’s 9/11 memorial

More contests for kids

The Phoenix Symphony hopes children will be inspired by classical music to paint, write poetry and dance as part of their DANCES IN THE DESERT contest

The Phoenix Symphony inspires children to more than making and enjoying beautiful music. Their “Symphony for the Schools” program presents an annual “Paint, Poetry, and Movement to Music Contest”which encourages students to create various art works inspired by particular pieces of music.

This year’s contest, dubbed “Dances in the Desert,” is being held in conjunction with their “Symphony for the Schools” concerts on April 26 & 27. Participating students must be part of a school group that is attending one of these concerts.

Students in grades K-8 are invited to submit artwork (paint, marker or crayon on white paper) inspired by “Tales from the Vienna Woods” by Johann Strauss, Jr. Winning artwork will tour with Young Arts Arizona during the 2011/2012 season.

 Students in grades 4-8 are invited to submit “free style” poetry inspired by “El Choclo (Tango Argentina) by Angel Gregorio Villoldo. The winning poet will be invited on stage to read his/her poem before the piece is played.

Students in grades 3-8 are invited to show off their “free form” dance moves inspired by “Gymnopedies 2. Lent et douloureux” by Erik Satie. The winning dance group or individual will be invited to perform live with The Phoenix Symphony during each concert.

There’s plenty of fine print for this contest, so please click here for submission guidelines and procedures as well as deadline information.

The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence invites “K-12 students in afterschool programs across the state” to participate in an “Arizona Centennial Writing Project” to help mark the state’s 100th birthday in 2012.

“Participating students,” notes the Center, “can submit an essay based on three writing prompts.”

  • I am proud that I live in Arizona because…
  • Young people are important to Arizona’s future because…
  • My vision for Arizona in the next 100 years is…

The project accepts essays in three grade-based categories: K- grade 4 (50-100 words), grades 5-8 (100-250 words) and grades 9-12 (500-750 words). “Students are encouraged to include elements of Arizona history, culture and geography in their essays,” according to the Center.

Essays are due May 27 — and you can click here to learn more about specific guidelines and submission procedures.

Submissions will be read by an independent panel of judges, who will select 100 essays for inclusion in “a special Voices of Afterschool commemorative publication.” The publication will debut Nov. 9 at an event honoring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor with the “2011 Afterschool Champion Award.”

Engage your children in various arts-related contests that come their way. For now, your children may be working with pencils and paintbrushes. But soon enough it’s our collective future they’ll be crafting.

— Lynn

Note: Please read all guidelines, requirements and submission/deadline details noted on sponsoring organization websites before entering.

Coming up: Youth theater company announces new season