Midland Center for the Arts Connects Professional Artists with Elementary School Students for Cultural Education Experience
On Monday morning you could hear the sound of students shuffling through the halls of Washington Elementary School as they approached the school gymnasium with excitement. In an effort to connect youth in the community with high quality performing arts experiences, the Midland Center for the Arts brought Latin American string band, Che Apalache, to the students in Bay City, Mich.
Based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Che Apalache presented a sold out performance at the Center, part of the Windows on the World Series, the night prior. The series, designed to bring artists from around the globe to share their unique artistic heritage on the stage, allows the Center to immerse residents of the Great Lakes Bay Region with a repertoire of music and cultural exchange not commonly performed locally, for students particularly.
"One of our goals at the Center is to provide opportunities for interaction between students and professional artists to facilitate learning, appreciation, imagination, and creativity whenever we can,” said Katie Trzaska-Miller, manager of community engagement. Students at Washington Elementary School experienced a performance by a Midland Symphony Orchestra string quartet at the school this past spring. “We are excited to bring Che Apalache to the students at Washington Elementary so they can build on their experience with our classical musicians from last school year."
Outreach activities like the presentation at Washington Elementary School provide teachers with supplemental arts education, fostering stronger participation and appreciation for the arts, particularly with students who do not have access to these events outside the classroom. “We are a low socioeconomic school, and many of our students don’t have an opportunity to see musicians like this. Getting up close and personal with a group like Che Apalache, something different than what they hear on the radio, is an awesome experience and we really appreciate our partnership with the Midland Center for the Arts,” said Dr. Sara Moore, Washington Elementary School principal.
As part of the program, Che Apalache played a series of traditional Latin American songs with a blend of bluegrass music, featuring tight vocal harmonies and stories about their culture. The group was able to teach the students about their instruments, vocal harmony, and Latin culture.
To learn more about outreach opportunities at the Center, please visit MidlandCenter.org.