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Young Artists Spring Into Action

group 6 girls

Marina Middle Schoolers ready for summer!

Spring is bouncing into summer and hundreds of young artists around the North Bay are finishing class projects and creating exhibits, performances and other artful events for family and friends with Youth in Arts.

Recent posts have highlighted Spring projects by K-Dub Williams’ students at Marina Middle School and Angela Baker’s students at Harding Elementary, in addition to the amazing work created by Suzanne Joyal’s kindergarteners at Loma Verde as part of the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts program. Youth in Arts also produced a special “Passport Art Event” at Harding, and Nydia Gonzalez and Shawna Alapa’i concluding performing arts residencies at Ocean View Elementary in Albany and Sonoma Mountain Elementary.

Students of all abilities perform together at Tam High

Students of all abilities perform together at Tam High

In late May, Arts Unite Us “collaborative residency” projects at Harding and at Tam High School in Mill Valley wrapped up with terrific performances by all the students. Collaborative residencies bring together special education and general education students for shared arts experiences. At Harding, students wrote, directed and performed an original play “Lydia and the Land of Gee-Jo” around themes of Pollution, Bullying, Self Acceptance, New Beauty Standards and Taking Care of Each Other.  At Tam High , the original pilot site for the collaborative residency program, students from the Special Day Class and advanced Conservatory Theatre Ensemble worked with Mentor Artists Suraya Keating and Melissa Briggs to write and perform their original play, “By my Side,” which opened the school’s popular One Acts Festival.

Hip Hop at Bahia Vista with Kaitlin

Hip Hop at Bahia Vista with Kaitlin

Tommy Shepherd’s students at Wade Thomas put an exclamation mark on their rap and beatboxing residency with a performance of their original rap for their peers at school, and Kaitlin McGaw’s kindergarteners at Bahia Vista will soon perform a vocal music and hip hop show for their fourth grade buddies.

At Laurel Dell in San Rafael, Djenane Saint-Juste has been teaching students Caribbean dance around the theme of Kanaval (Carnivale), using costume pieces the students created this Fall with visual artist Gabby Gamboa. The students will perform in a grand parade with family and friends at the school’s big Fiesta del Sol event this weekend. And at Mary Silveira, Mentor Artist Julia James finished a successful year with a big art show featuring work by all her K-4 students in the program.

Youth in Arts award-winning `Til Dawn a cappella ensemble performed their annual Spring Concert at San

`Til Dawn 2014 Graduating Seniors

`Til Dawn 2014 Graduating Seniors

Domenico Hall of the Arts this past weekend–a big congratulations to all the performers for a wonderful show and a special shout out to our graduating seniors. We will miss you!

Also at San Domenico, Youth in Arts workshopped a new performance of “Goodnight Gorilla” on May 23 with music by Dee Spencer performed by a terrific band of Bay Area music educators and musicians who are working with us to develop the work into an educational performance piece for youth jazz bands.

Workshopping Goodnight Gorilla at San Domenico

Workshopping Goodnight Gorilla at San Domenico

You can see it’s been a very busy Spring, full of fabulous art and fabulous young artists. Watch this blog for more detailed reports on many of these projects in the weeks ahead and get ready to celebrate summer with Youth in Arts! Come see `Til Dawn at Youth in Arts night with the Pacifics, visit our Everything Under the Sun YIA Gallery exhibit, sign up for a unique summer camp program, check out the Mountain Play and benefit Youth in Arts with your ticket purchase, or join us for our gala Summer Solstice celebration at Studio 333 on June 21. We’d love to see you in person and share our work with you. Happy summer!

Making Music at Ocean View!

Kindergarteners at Ocean View Elementary are making music!

As a mother, educator, performer and Program Director at Youth in Arts, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play with our young students in Albany.  Students in every TK (Transitional Kindergarten), K and K-1 class at Ocean View (and the Albany Children’s Center) are playing, singing and dancing during our 10 week music program.

Singing Solfége - Do!

Singing Solfége – Do!

We started out exploring the many different sounds we can make with our bodies: clapping, tapping, snapping, sliding, singing, talking, etc.  Students came up with their “name rhythm”, making a percussive sound for every syllable in their name and we put them together to make music!  We have learned to warm up our voices with different sounds and practicing “solfége”, learning about pitch and volume.  We have applied this to singing fun songs about friends, movements, emotions.  I have caught more than one parent humming the tune to one of the songs we sing in class because students sing them at home too!NGonzalez

We definitely keep moving, dancing to the funky beat of my “cajón”, isolating body parts and moving to different types of beats. Students have learned about keeping a steady beat and playing different rhythms with their bodies and with an assortment of percussion instruments including shaker, rhythm sticks and drums.

Both of my children are students at Ocean View and one of the many beautiful attributes of our school is the wealth of diversity of our families.  In honoring this, we sing our “Hello My Friend” song in as many languages as we can! Students have taught us to sing it in Hebrew, Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean, Arabic, Japanese and Spanish amongst other languages.  We are also in the midst of writing a song about appreciating our differences called “We Are Different in Beautiful Ways”.

Dancing to the beat!

Dancing to the beat!

It has been such an honor to work with every teacher at Ocean View and witness how each one of them incorporates singing and movement into every school day.  Our students are very happy about making music and we are eager to share our love for music with our families and friends during our culminating event in April.
In the meanwhile, keep singing!

Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez

YIA Mentor Artist & Program Director