Sunday, October 6, 2013

MUSE Machine...bringing the arts to schools!

Our new year with MUSE Machine got off to a fantastic start with a special workshop in mid-September to welcome our new sixth grade class and introduce them to the MUSE Machine secondary program.

What is this MUSE Machine?

Just one of the most amazing arts organizations anywhere...and it's in Dayton, Ohio!

Our music teacher and I have been secondary level (grades 6-12) club advisors for the past five years. Through this organization, we have met and worked with some of the most creative and talented visual and performing artists you could ever hope to meet. But even more important, our students have been enriched by these artists through in-school performances, artist residencies, and field trips to arts venues.

"So You Think You Can't Dance?" proved to be a high-energy hour with choreographer Lula Elzy (Lula Elzy Dance Theatre of New Orleans) and actor and Wright State University musical theatre director, Joe Deer, two of MUSE Machine's arts partners. They challenged our returning seventh and eighth grade MUSE Club members and the entire sixth grade class to put on their "dancing shoes" and prove that middle school students CAN dance!

Everyone had a great time, including myself, my fellow Muse Machine advisor, Sherri (music teacher), and all four sixth grade teachers.

Later in the month, our full season of Muse Machine in-school performances opened with a performance of "Historical!" by The Human Race Theatre Company, one of Dayton's many awesome performing arts organizations. Scott Stoney, resident artist with Human Race and script writer for "Historical", and four young actors took the students on a journey through critical events in American history using the musical, an all-American art form, as their vehicle.

Songs included "But, Mr. Adams" from 1776, a heart-felt medley from The Civil War that included "Judgment Day" and "Tell My Father", and a humorous rendition of "Thank You, Herbert Hoover" from Annie.  The 40-minute performance ended with a moving rendition of "The Gun Song" from Assassins, a very timely commentary on today's culture and gun violence. After the performance, the actors and Mr. Stoney conducted an informative Q & A session for the students before everyone headed back to prepare for dismissal.

We'll be looking forward to November 5, the date of our next MUSE Machine in-school performance!

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