Christine Merriman, Experiencing the Arts' Spring Artist In Residence

Experiencing the Arts Spring artist in residence was Raku potter Christine Merriman of Merry Woman Studios. Christine introduced examples of her work and explained that Raku pottery was discovered by accident -- literally. When a potter's kiln collapsed, the potter struggled to save pieces from the disaster. The orange hot pots ignited anything they came in contact with. Surprisingly, the resulting glazes showed fantastic new results from the shock. Iridescent metallic sheens, crackle patterns and patinas of fantastic colors caused the potter to recognize that something good had been discovered from the accident. The word Raku means happy accident.

The Raku kiln is designed to allow the potter to take the ceramics out at their peak temperate. The pieces are put in a pit and sprinkled with combustibles, leaves, sawdust, some potters even use newspaper. The combustibles burst into flame but the ceramics are quickly tightly covered forcing the oxygen hungry fire to pull the oxygen out of oxides in the glazes creating fabulous metallic sheens and iridescent colors.

Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse, describes how he found the Spring guest artist, "I watched Christine Merriman demonstrate Raku pottery last August at the League of NH Craftsmen's Fair at Mt. Sunapee Resort. She had a very enthusiastic and easy going delivery which I thought would work well with the students at Mascoma. We worked out a schedule to allow her to help us in the clay, then return after we had bisk fired the pieces to prepare them for the Raku firing. Science classes, students from Indian River School, all Mascoma's Art students and many curious people during Spring Fling watched the Raku pottery. This summer, Christine will return to demonstrate again at the League of NH Craftsmen's Fair at Mt. Sunapee Resort, August 6th - 14th -- this time, she will also demonstrate with Richard Foye who was the Experiencing the Arts' resident artist two years ago. This year, we had two very successful residencies with League of NH Craftsmen artisans, (Christine Merriman, Spring, and Sarah Heimann, Fall), I am very pleased about the relationship between Experiencing the Arts and the League of NH Craftsmen." Morse will also be showing his etching at the League show this August making his 18th year showing at the Fair.

This Spring, Leah Plante and Carrie Bladyka, two students who have taken Experiencing the Arts for several years, asked to run their own event. They coordinated a Punk Show with six bands (one of the bands was Mascoma's "Ian Kelly and The Love Handles" including several students in Experiencing the Arts). The students made all the connections, worked out the arrangements with the bands, did their own web pages, designed and distributed the poster. The Lebanon Elks allowed them to have the show in their lodge at no cost! What a better testimony to the effect of having participated in running our past Peak Community Events than to show the initiative to run an event themselves. The seventy two from the audience, together with the members of all six bands, made for a crowd of over a hundred. We are grateful to the Elks and Mascoma faculty for helping chaperone the event, and grateful to the Lebanon Elks for allowing us the use of their lodge. Congratulations to Leah Plante and Carrie Bladyka!

"The Shape of a Girl" Play at Mascoma High School Addresses Bullying Issues

Opening the school year this past August, Superintendant, John Moses asked teachers to address bullying issues in the curriculum. On March 28th, Experiencing the Arts sponsored an all school assembly at Mascoma Valley Regional High School of the critically acclaimed play "The Shape of a Girl." Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse explained, "I was very pleased to get the play for Mascoma. I had expressed interest in the play by Health Teacher, Catherine Stewart and from what I read in the study guide, the story sounded exactly like what the Superintendant hoped we would cover when he spoke at the beginning of the school year. The Green Thumb Theatre for Young People is from British Colombia. Their production of Joan MacLeod's one woman play came to Mascoma through a series of cooperations. Through the State Council on the Arts Artlinks program, we are partners with Lebanon Opera House. The play was on their roster for their Youth Education Series and they were kind enough to allow us to sponsor an additional performance while it was in the area."

The play was intense, depicting a girl named Braidie struggling over what to do about her friend Adrian's destructive bullying of a girl named Sophie. The play was inspired by the real-life murder in 1997 of the 14-year-old Reena Virk by two high school girls in Vancouver. The play inspired the New York Times to write: "Joan MacLeod's sober and gripping one-woman show '"The Shape of a Girl,'" adds to the growing consensus in popular culture that ''sugar-and-spice and everything nice'' might have been overstating the case."

"Jennifer Paterson is brilliant in the role, winning our sympathies and communicating with painstaking articulation the weakness of being unable to stop something that you know is wrong."

"Braidie is just your average kid. She's a little melodramatic, maybe, and a handful for her mother, but nothing too out of the ordinary. So when she sees her friends cruelly hazing a girl at school, she does what most kids would do -- absolutely nothing."

"Through Braidie's eyes, the audience sees the plight of Sophie, an innocent, awkward girl who is bullied by her classmates. She is ignored, mocked and referred to as a thing instead of a person. Braidie sympathizes with Sophie, but also seems to resent her inability to stick up for herself."

After seeing the play, fourteen Experiencing the Arts students completed a questionnaire about the play. Although a majority of the Experiencing the Arts students felt the story accurately reflected their experience with bullying, more than half said either they had never been bullied themselves or that it was uncommon at Mascoma. Carrie Bladyka said, "I don't think that bullying is a huge issue in our school. Although people pick on each other and there's not allot of respect for other people's opinions, people don't go and beat people up for it." Tiffany Kennedy added, "There are many different kinds of bullying. This story does reflect an experience of bullying that I am aware of, but I have never been bullied like that." Sierra Stark felt the play did cover bullying accurately, "A lot of girls want to fit into a cool group and would do anything to be popular. With Bradie's (the main character's) situation, she had known Adrian (the bully) for a long time and didn't want to lose her as a friend even though she was mean."

All the Experiencing the Arts students found it plausible that a student in Bradie's situation would be able to speak up against a situation of bullying. Nicole Bisbee pointed out, "When Sophie (the girl who they had been bullying) began to act as if she hated herself, it convinced Bradie to speak up against Adrian." Kate Johnson felt Bradie's reporting the bullying was plausible, "I think Bradie decided to report it because she realized that she was harming Sophie even though she wasn't doing the bullying. Bradie realized how serious the bullying was when she found herself obsessing over (the news story of) the killing in Victoria Falls."

There was a variety of opinions about what might happen next after Bradie reported Adrian's bullying. One student felt Adrian would beat Bradie up. Three students felt the victim might commit suicide. Two felt Adrian might ultimately kill Sophie. Six students felt things would resolve themselves with Adrian getting in trouble and help being offered to Sophie. One student felt that after "getting pumped up on heavy metal music" Sophie would seek her revenge!

Ten of the fourteen students reporting felt that Bradie shared in the guilt for being silent about the prolonged bullying. Two students felt that it was understandable to remain silent because she was scared. Two students felt that it is different to keep silent than to be a participant in the bullying, "because it is hard to go against your friends." All the students reporting felt that the bystanders could have helped prevent Adrian's bullying. Suggestions primarily involved standing up to Adrian, however, many students advocated reporting the situation to adults.

None of the Experiencing the Arts students reported having ever missed school because they felt badly about things happening with other students. Most of the students felt Mascoma has a good system in place for dealing with issues like this. When asked who they would go to if there was a similar bullying issue at Mascoma, students named the Principal, Vice Principal, Resource Officer, Guidance, or "a teacher that they trusted," however, two students felt they would deal with the situation with the help of other students.

There were a variety of responses when asked how they would move ahead from conflicts with their peers: one student suggested intimidation, one suggested fighting, several suggested not letting conflicts get to you or try making a joke out of the conflict to show "that I don't care," two students pointed to time as the great healer, many felt that talking things out works, "be a problem solver," suggested Matt Tibbets.

Read Across America Day celebration with author Howard Frank Mosher grows into a multimedia experience with Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven

This March 2nd, Read Across America Day will have a special significance for students at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. All Mascoma students will be spending the day with award winning author Howard Frank Mosher studying several of his works. He will share one of his short stories, "High Water," with the freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Mosher's book A Stranger in the Kingdom is one of the books studied as part of the senior English curriculum. He will be presenting a slide show to seniors demonstrating how an incident in his Northeast Kingdom neighborhood became the inspiration for this book.

Mascoma's reading teacher Linda Ladd and librarian Mary Swainbank organized the program. The enthusiasm of Linda Ladd and Mary Swainbank must have been contagious. Before long, the program was expanded to further explore Mosher's works with Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven. Craven has made films of several of Mosher's stories: "Where the Rivers Flow North," starring Rip Torn, and "A Stranger in the Kingdom," starring Martin Sheen. On March 16th, Jay Craven will come to Mascoma Valley Regional High School to cast a different light on sharing Howard Frank Mosher's stories. He will be working with different classes throughout the day.

With the idea for this Read Across America program in mind, Linda Ladd and Mary Swainbank approached Mascoma's Experiencing the Arts director Christopher Morse with the proposal. "I was thrilled to be able to sponsor the program," said Morse. "Experiencing the Arts has recently won funding to explore the cross-curricular and broader community impact of the Arts. Providing this experience for all Mascoma students in conjunction with the national Read Across America program (and initiated through the interest of other faculty) is exactly the type of experience I would have hoped to sponsor." Experiencing the Arts has won funding from the NH Council on the Arts Artlinks program, The Byrne Foundation, and The Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation. The program is an experiential Arts program covering Theater, Media Arts, Visual Arts, Dance, Music, and Writing/Poetry for more information about the program is on their web site at Experiencing the Arts .

Principal Patrick Andrew said that Howard Frank Mosher's stories in many ways illuminate the texture of rural life that is familiar to residents of the five towns served by Mascoma: Canaan, Dorchester, Enfield, Grafton, and Orange. He was pleased and impressed that artists of this caliber would be willing to come share their experiences with students of Mascoma. At the faculty meeting when these programs were announced, Principal Andrew gave much credit to the dedicated efforts of his faculty in making these types of experiences possible for the Mascoma students.

Experiencing the Arts Takes 145 to The Diary of Anne Frank

On March 16th, 145 Mascoma Valley Regional High School and Indian River School students and faculty loaded into three busses traveling to The Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. Students were included from the US History classes, Modern European History, Geography, Experiencing the Arts, as well as 22 studying the holocaust at Indian River School. In a sold out matinee performance, they were treated to an excellent performance of The Diary of Anne Frank by Northern Stage. The characters were effectively brought to life by a competent cast. Most of the performers were professional actors, however, the title role of Anne Frank was played by a Lebanon High School student, and the role of Peter was played by a student from Hanover High School. The field trip was the largest sponsored by the Experiencing the Arts program to date, and has been planned since last Spring.

The Diary of Anne Frank is an emotional play depicting conditions forced on many Jews during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Students watched the story of eight people hiding together in an attic for two years. In the Northern Stage production, there was an excellent balance of the conflict and humor created by these conditions. Many of Mascoma's students had strong reactions to the play.

Eben Brown said, "I was most effected by the scenes where there was suspense caused by such things as the phone ringing or by something heard down below, You would stay still, in suspense, with your heart pounding -- as though you were there."

Kate Johnson described the first act as "A very well acted depiction of the ways people can grow to hate and distrust each other even when they are depending on each other for their surival. I was most effected by the scene when Mrs Frank "broke" and wanted to kick Mr. Vandant out (for stealing their food)." The second act she found to be "A perfect example of the exact opposite -- the way hope can survive."

As a regular performer in Mascoma's dramatic productions, Annie Taliaferro was most effected by the stressful and emotional parts of the play, "Like the romantic scene between Anne and Peter, and the scenes of the fighting between them all. I really saw their characters come out in these parts making me believe it was all happening and forget the fact it was just a play."

Stephanie Rand was most effected by the kindness, "That they would let the Jewish people hide in their house even when they didn't have enough food, they made room and rationed their food." This helped Stephanie believe, "If I was alive back then, and was Jewish, I would have a place to stay and hide; they would protect me from the (Nazi) police."

Sierra Stark reacted, "I was most effected when they found out about their friends and by how crushed they were when they got taken away. This was by far my most favorite production. Because it was based on a true event, it was truly inspirational."

Field Trip to Scholastics Art Awards show enjoyed by more than 90 people from Mascoma High and Indian River School

For the second year, Experiencing the Arts sponsored a field trip to The Scholastic Art Awards for all Mascoma Valley Regional High School Art students as well as participating students from Indian River School. On January 31st two busses took more than 90 students and chaperones to the Scholastics in Bedford, NH. The students were able to see over 600 of the finest artworks by NH high school and middle school students. The show is supported by the NH Art Educator's Association, The Currier Gallery of Art and others.

"The best way to show the students what is possible for high school artists is to show them the best of what is happening right now from all around the state. Taking the all the art students to see the Scholastic Art Awards show is a way of empowering them with ideas and reinforcing the value of fine technique and craftsmanship," said Christopher Morse, Mascoma's Art Teacher and Director of Experiencing the Arts.

Donald Hall & Thomas Geoghegan: An Evening of Poetry & Classical Guitar

In our continuing effort to extend the benefit of Experiencing The Arts to the broader community, and to help the Music Department's fund raising efforts, Experiencing the Arts is pleased to sponsor "An Evening of Poetry and Classical Guitar," with one of NH's Living Treasures, poet, Donald Hall and classical guitarist and composer, Thomas Geoghegan.

Mascoma Valley Regional High School's Music Director, David Wilson is to be applauded for the dedication he has shown in his latest endeavor to take Mascoma's Band and Chorus on a trip to Washington D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration. Together with the Band Boosters, Mr. Wilson has coordinated numerous fund raising efforts to enable his students to become a part of this historic event. We hope you enjoy "An Evening of Poetry and Classical Guitar," and choose to support the Band's fund raising effort for their trip to Washington, D.C..

Christopher Hill Morse Director, Experiencing the Arts


Donald Hall's honors include two Guggenheim fellowships, the Poetry Society of America's Robert Frost Silver medal, a Lifetime Achievement award from the New Hampshire Writers and Publisher Project, and the Ruth Lilly Prize for poetry. Hall also served as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire from 1984 to 1989. In December 1993 he and Jane Kenyon were the subject of an Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers documentary, "A Life Together." Donald Hall has been designated as one of New Hampshire's Living Treasures.

Donald Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928. He began writing as an adolescent and attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at the age of sixteen -- the same year he had his first work published. He earned a B.A. from Harvard in 1951 and a B. Litt. from Oxford in 1953. Donald Hall has published fourteen books of poetry, most recently Without: Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 1998), which was published on the third anniversary of his wife and fellow poet Jane Kenyon's death from leukemia. Other notable collection include The One Day (1988), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination; The Happy Man (1986), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Exiles and Marriages (1955), which was the Academy's Lamont Poetry Selection for 1956.

Besides poetry, Donald Hall has written books on baseball, the sculptor Henry Moore, and the poet Marianne Moore; children's books, including Ox-Cart Man (1979), which won the Caldecott Medal; short stories; and plays. He has also published several autobiographical works, such as Life Work (1993), which won the New England Book award for nonfiction, and has edited more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies, including The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America (1990), The Oxford Book of American Literary Anecdotes (1981), New Poets of England and America (with Robert Pack and Louis Simpson, 1957), and Contemporary American Poetry (1962; revised 1972). He served as poetry editor of The Paris Review from 1953 to 1962, and as a member of editorial board for poetry at Wesleyan University Press from 1958 to 1964.


Thomas Geoghegan studied principally with Rodrigo Riera, assistant to Andres Segovia, and was coached by Segovia, Alirio Diaz, and in composition, by Samuel Barber. He has performed as part of the Paris Festival, and has served as artist-faculty at Dartmouth College and the University of Vermont. He teaches at Middlebury College.

Commissioned works of Mr. Geoghegan include three narrated symphonic poems created for the late Robert J. Lurtsema and the "Canciones de Navidad" which were performed and recorded by soprano Kathleen Battle and guitarist Christopher Parkening. In 1997 Mr. Geoghegan was invited to lecture and give the principal recital for the Parkening Master Class at Montana State University. In January 2004 Mr. Parkening featured the Geoghegan "First Sonata" on a program entitled "20th Century Masterworks for the Guitar" at the "92nd Street Y" Tisch Center for the Arts in New York.

Mr. Geoghegan is the recipient of Awards from ASCAP, citing in 1994 his Fourth Concerto, in 1996 his settings of nine Iberian songs, and in 2002 his Sonata for Flute and Piano. He is published by Mel Bay Publications.

The League of NH Craftsmen Residency

Our residency with ceramic artist Sarah Heimann is a celebration of partnerships. The League of New Hampshire's Hanover shop Education Director, Suzanne Jones, had secured funding for scholarships for some Mascoma students to take classes at the shop in Hanover. Because of the large geographic area covered within the Mascoma school district -- some student's bus routes are over an hour -- transportation complications prevented many students from being able to participate. Working with Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse, a plan was derived to allow all Mascoma Art students to have a hand in creating a monumental sculpture for the school's sculpture garden. The sculpture is half a face, with a flat wall down the middle. The face is in repose, eye closed and looking upwards. In order to be ready for the residency, the eight foot long 700 pound sculpture had to be completed before Thanksgiving by the Experiencing the Arts students at Mascoma. With the help of a few students putting in some extra time, the face (photo bottom right) was completed at the bell announcing Thanksgiving break! The students had one assignment to consider for Thanksgiving break; think about what the giant head would be dreaming about.
Sarah Heimann arrived at Mascoma Monday, November 29th for a two week residency to help the students create glazed ceramic tiles depicting dreams. These tiles will cover the flat wall of the sculpture allowing the viewer to see inside the sleeping giant. Many students had ideas ready and others just needed to get caught up in the momentum to get started. Within two days many dramatic and beautiful tiles were being carved. Sarah was filled with enthusiasm. She brought in many examples of surface textures and carvings she had made in ceramics. Sarah brought all her experience to the table. Sarah Heimann has her Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics from the University of Minnesota, she teaches ceramics at the League of NH Craftsmen shop in Hanover and Lebanon College, She has won honors in ceramics winning a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists, as well as several residency programs. Her own work is wrapped in designs that inspire one to turn the object around; designs tease around edges and evolve as they are followed. Her clay objects are sculptures, glazes and stains bring out the drawing and carving. Her work is available from her studio in Lebanon, NH.
There are high hopes for this new sculpture. Last year's dedication program for the seven foot tall hand sculpted by Experiencing the Arts was a program culminating a week long residency of African song and drumming and included about 60 students in the concert. This year, a proposal has been made to the Blue Man Group. The giant head would be involved in the opening sequence reminiscent of a scene in 2001 a Space Odyssey. The thought of this has helped the creative juices flow.


Fall Peak Community Event

On November 4th eight of the Experiencing the Arts students hosted our Fall Peak Community Event -- a concert with two local bands Dr. Burma and Fry Daddy at the Lebanon Opera House. Dr. Burma came out to start the show six members strong. To support our cause Dr. Burma's head man Ted Mortimer, had additional musicians to add a fat horn sound. They played their heart out for two hours. The audience migrated toward the stage and danced. We were treated to an excellent performance.

Fry Daddy was up second. Carlos Ocasio's guitar had a clean soulful sound. His band was tight and they worked together to energize each song with emotion. "Burn your Britches, " was a very powerful number. He also played some songs in Spanish. Fry Daddy was excellent.

I want to apologize to the bands for not getting more people to our show. The students helped me mail out 125 press packs. We got listed in all the newspaper calendar sections and got picked up in the Cardigan with an article. Posters were distributed all around the area. Experiencing the Arts student Tim Bagley's graphics were effective. We e-mailed the press release to several lists. Fans of the bands also helped solicit interest. Still at the peak of the crowd, there were only about 60 attending the event. By the time Fry Daddy hit the stage, there were fewer. Only 42 people paid to get in; many coming in after the box office closed. Our fund raiser did not cover the house expenses. Even though the use of the Opera House was donated we still owed $318 for the evening. I would like to show the Experiencing the Arts students more success for their efforts. Both bands did a great job. They were professional and came out to support a good cause. Thank you. I am sorry I could not get more people to the event. Christopher Morse

When Fry Daddy or Dr. Burma play at the local scenes they attract good crowds. With the two bands together, we hope that they define the local pulse of the arts for that Thursday night. The November 4th concert is the Experiencing the Arts Fall Peak Community Event. Students in the Experiencing the Arts program get to participate in all aspects of running this fund raising concert. They design posters, help with the press releases, call local radio hosts, trying to raise interest in the event. At the show, they act as ushers, hand out programs, help the musicians backstage, sell concessions, and help with the load in and set up. The students are excited to have such popular local talent coming to play at the concert. Ted Mortimer of Dr. Burma and Carlos Ocasio of Fry Daddy are friends and have been planning ahead for this dual group jam. Fry Daddy, led by singer song writer, Carlos Ocasio, is "a foot stomping, heart thumping stew of originals, soul, rhythm and blues, and Latin beats." Dr. Burma's "Dynamic vocals, stellar musicianship, and an irresistible groove, has been playing its unstoppable mix of classic soul, blues, funk and originals for enthusiastic audiences all over New England for fifteen years." Together they promise a mix of old favorites and their cutting edge latest.

The concert will help Experiencing the Arts continue bringing arts enrichment programs to students and to the community. Experiencing the Arts is in its third year. Each year we try to fill the following curriculum skeleton:

2 Student Run Peak Community Event and Fund Raiser at Lebanon Opera House 14 to 16 field trips 7 or 8 each term 2 artists in residence for a week long program (Fall and Spring) 4 (minimum) 6 (optimum) All School Assemblies 2 Local Community Events, Community Dances 4 (minimum) Guest Artists

Fry Daddy & Dr. Burma

The Band Fry Daddy has been performing in the Upper Valley for the past ten years. Led by singer song writer, Carlos Ocasio, the band's music is a foot stomping, heart thumping stew of originals, soul, rhythm and blues, and Latin beats.

Their CD, "Check My Britches," was released in 2000 and has made its way into many venues across New England. Carlos has been working on new material and hopes to start recording a new CD soon. If you like to dance the night away, this is the band for you. Joining Carlos, the band includes, Wally Wysk on lead guitar, John Ducarme on drums and vocals, and Rich Thomas on bass and vocals.

Dr. Burma has been playing its unstoppable mix of classic soul, blues, funk and originals for enthusiastic audiences all over New England for fifteen years. Dynamic vocals, stellar musicianship, and an irresistible groove have built their reputation as one of the area's premier rhythm & blues dance bands, playing clubs, concerts, festivals and parties throughout northern New England and New York. During that time the band has opened concerts for B.B. King and Commander Cody, has performed with Fontella Bass, and had the honor of backing Bo Diddley on his last two tours through New England. Dr Burma has released one album on their own Medical Records label, and are hard at work on a new cd.

Lead vocalist Linda Boudreault has won an enthusiastic following with her unique and soulful style. Prior to joining Dr. Burma she worked in a variety of bands in Franconia and Montpelier including Clean Slate and Cake & Eat It. Linda has also performed with Dartmouth's Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, the Vermont Jazz Ensemble, a variety of small jazz groups, and the popular zydeco group The Goat Broke Loose. Her jazz cd, Alone with You, was released in August 2001. Linda appeared at the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington Vermont in June 2002 backed by members of Dr. Burma.

Ted Mortimer plays guitar and also sings. He moved to the area from Los Angeles where he performed with, among others, Chuck Berry and Doug Kershaw. He has also performed in jazz and blues clubs in New York City with Sandra Wright, including the Five Spot and Manny's Car Wash, and opened for the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Livingston Taylor. In collaboration with other Vermont musicians he wrote and recorded the soundtrack for Nosey Parker, a new film by John O'Brien (Man With a Plan), and has contributed to many cd projects. He and Linda are also members of The Goat Broke Loose, a zydeco band, which performs sporadically (schedule permitting) around the state. Members of this all star outfit include Jeremiah McLane on accordion, Colin McCaffrey on bass and vocals.

Dr. Burma's keyboardist/vocalist, Doug Southworth, brings a funky New Orleans-influenced piano style and a big organ sound to the band. He's played in many popular bands in Vermont and elsewhere, including the Michael Hurley Band, The East Bay Jazz Ensemble, and Why Be Reasonable.

Bassist Casey Dennis adds a big fat and funky bottom end to Dr. Burma's sound. He has been a fixture on the Vermont music scene for many years, performing with Roadapple, Sensible Shoes, the Michael Hurley Band, Gusano, and many others.

Drummer Marcus Copening has toured the world with various recording artists including Messiah, Mary Wells, and the Phillipine recording star Hajii. He recorded and performed in New York City with acclaimed jazz fusion guitarist Ryo Kawasaki for seven years. He conducts drum clinics throughout Vermont and has performed with Big Joe Burrell, Funky Miracle, Chris Kleeman, Picture This, the New Nile Orchestra, and many other top Vermont artists.

Dr. Burma frequently performs with a horn section. The band uses many of the best horn players in the Vermont and New Hampshire area, including members of the Vermont Jazz Ensemble and faculty members from Dartmouth College and Johnson State College.

Experiencing the Arts is funded through grants with the NH State Council on the Arts through its Artlinks program, matching funds from the school district, The Byrne Foundation, donations and through the generosity of our Artlinks partners at Lebanon Opera House, the Hopkins Center, and AVA Gallery.

Northern Stage All School Shakespere Assembly

On Friday, October 15th Northern Stage performed a scene from The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare. They spoke of combining this with The Tamer Tamed by John Fletcher in an original adaptation by their Artistic Director, Brooke Ciardelli. They called this collaboration, The Shrew Tamer. Their web site described it as follows: "In Shakespeare's hilarious and controversial comedy, Petruchio tames his love, Kate. Twenty years later, in Fletcher's riotous follow-up, Petruchio's new wife shows him a thing or two about being tamed. Northern Stage Artistic Director Brooke Ciardelli combines the two for a madcap evening of comedy, music and dance."

From our conversations with Northern Stage prior to their visit to Mascoma, and from their study guides, we expected to get a little of both sides of the play (both Shakespere and Fletcher). Six actors and the Northern Stage Education Director arrived for the assembly. Erin, (pictured above center, in the cap), introduced the scene as if he were introducing a rock band. He described that the actors were going to portray workers for a very mean master. He described the master as a "mofo." He flashed hand gestures to the audience as if we were all part of his gang. He spoke of his career at high school which he said he spent in the detention room and then he motivated the actors to perform the scene.

The scene was a high energy scene, hectic and kinetic. The acting was excellent. Then, after about six minutes, they were done. They sat in a group and took questions. Each of them described their careers and spoke of the theatre profession. Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse, asked if they were going to perform a scene from the second half of the play so that we could see some of John Fletcher's counterpoint to the Taming of the Shrew. He seemed hopeful that Northern Stage would perform more than one six minute scene for the assembly.

The actors decided that they would show us how to make stage fights look real. They blocked out a few fight moves. They took some students from the audience to teach them how to make it appear that someone was pulling your hair. The trick was that the person who's hair was being pulled actually directs the action. In this way they don't actually get their hair pulled. This interaction was very popular with the students.

They asked if the students wanted to see a love scene. Two of the actors performed a short love scene and kiss. After the kiss, again, they sat to take questions. There was plenty of time for more scenes. We did not see any acting demonstrating the contrast between Shakespere and John Fletcher or the way Brooke Ciardelli blended the two plays.

The sixteen students in Experiencing the Arts, and some of the Shakespere class (who had read the study guide) expected something different from Northern Stage. The rest of the school, had no idea what was coming. Everybody enjoyed the acting, learning about careers in the theatre, and how to make it look like you are pulling someone's hair without hurting them. A huge turn up of students at the end spoke of the popularity of the group. After the assembly, Education Director, Megan Keenan explained that they were unable to perform many of the scenes because the leads were union actors and this prevented them from extra shows such as our assembly.

Some of the students wrote their reactions:

"The Shakespere play with the Taming of the Shrew and The Tamer Tamed was good. I liked how the "big guy" showed us how they fought in plays and made it look real. It liked how he talked to us. It was like he was on our level. He did not talk down to us. He talked to us. Over all, I enjoyed Northern Stage coming to our school."

"I thought the play was good, but, they should have done the whole thing. Erin was funny. I think he should come back and do some comedy stuff -- he was that funny."

"I was very disappointed with the assembly. I was expecting to see an actual play instead of one little scene. The guy who said "mofo" was awesome and so was everything else. I was just expecting allot more."

"I liked the idea of Northern Stage coming to our school, but I was disappointed that they didn't do more scenes. However, the actors were amusing, especially the big guy, Erin. Despite the fact that they only did one scene, they acted well in that scene. I was hoping they would do something from the Tamer Tamed, but they didn't."

Are We Saying Time is up for Cornish Colony?

On October 6th, Mascoma Valley Regional High School students became the latest artists of the Cornish Colony. I say it this way to help make the point that the inspiration and history of the Cornish Colony continues for each person that participates with it and the young artists that may arise from Mascoma are now part of the energy of the Cornish Colony, a place where so much creativity coalesced. Numerous presidents visited, many of the greatest artists visited and worked there, women were there recognized as artists and there fought for the right to vote. Without a great effort, the Cornish Colony will close at the end of this month.

It is disturbing that we can see the value of certain historic places, recognizing them by preserving and passing them on to future generations yet we have failed to recognize this about the Cornish Colony. It should be possible to define such a place in such a way to prevent property taxes alone from threatening its continuance. Perhaps we could quickly define it in such a way to stay its closing. The students of Mascoma enjoyed a detailed and captivating tour of the colony, much of the tour was lead by Mrs. Gilbert. Alma Gilbert has been the champion and caretaker of the Cornish Colony for more than 20 years. She was an impassioned host.

If you could stand in front of the Maxfield Parish paintings and witness first hand the luminous color of the layers and layers of glazing that can only be appreciated by seeing the original and allow yourself the rush of feeling that it was the place surrounding you that inspired and allowed this level of creativity, you will believe the Cornish Colony could inspire future students and young artists if it is allowed to continue. If Alma Gilbert's dedication is not inspiration enough for us to try and save the Cornish Colony, and you are not inspired by the collection of great works of art and the history that has taken place there, perhaps you will be motivated to get involved saving the Cornish Colony by the words of some of Mascoma's Experiencing the Arts students:

Jasmine Sweeney wrote:

"I loved the Cornish Colony. I thought it was great. It really stinks that they are selling that stuff because it was really really inspiring. There are two pieces I liked the most. Daybreak was one of them. I loved how the lighting hit it and made it light or dark. It was amazing. It was also interesting how they added fool's gold to make sparkles in the paint. I didn't get to see the pieces that had sparkles very clearly (Jasmine has limited eyesight) but I could just imagine it in my head as the tour docent was telling us about it. The other piece I liked was in three panels.

I hope that place doesn't go out of business because it could be inspiration to any artist or just anybody in particular. It took a really long time for them to get it all together and if they sell everything, some of the pieces may never be seen again. It would be really sad to see all that go. Some of the pieces almost made me cry because they were so beautiful."

Karissa Bandieri wrote:

"The museum was really cool. I liked the stories that went along with each of the paintings. I also liked that most of the paintings and sculptures come from real life stories and not made up stories. My favorite piece is the one about the three kids and the little boy in the front was paralyzed. I thought the story behind that was really sad. I really wouldn't want that museum to shut down because it is very interesting and educational and there are allot of original pieces that nobody around here would ever get to see if we didn't have that museum."

Ian Kelly wrote:

"There is no reason why the Cornish Colony should be closed. For one thing, it has large historic value, artists came there, and where inspired to paint, or draw, or do whatever they do (write, sculpt, compose). It inspired me, and I know it inspired most people around me, and if not then it at least affected them in some way. I don't see why the state hasn't recognized this place yet. Some of the work there was just amazing, especially Maxfield Perish, who's natural light in his paintings was just fabulous. It is also historically important for women; There was a woman painter there who was one of the first artists to have paintings sold in the millions, which, back then, was a big thing for women. It really razzes me that they want to close such a neat building, especially since they let in people and schools to look at the work there. This place is too important to shut down."

Residency with New York City puppet theatre artist Erin Orr

Through the generosity of Dartmouth College's Outreach program, Monday October 4th and Tuesday, October 5th, Mascoma High school students took part in a two day residency with New York City Savage Nursery puppet theatre artist Erin Orr and her crew -- puppeteers, sound engineers, production staff and Joe Clifford from the Dartmouth's Outreach at the Hopkins Center. Excerpts from the journals of participating students and photographs of the workshop follow. After these is the original proposal and Erin Orr's response.

Savage Nursery by Jared Shaw

The Savage Nursery Crew came to us Monday and Tuesday. They showed us how to make shadow puppets. First they put on a little show for us. It was neat because they showed us how to make our own puppets out of many different materials and colors.

My partner and I got the nick name "The Box Crew" because we made a toy box and had numerous toys jumping out. I wish we had had more time.

Savage Nursery by Leah Plant

Savage Nursery came to work with us on Monday October 4th and Tuesday, October 5th. Erin Orr, the creator of the show came along with her puppeteers, etc., and taught us about shadow puppetry. They assisted us in creating shadow puppets and then they acted out our shows for us.

When I first saw their flyer for their official show at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth, I was interested by the two morbidly funny looking puppets pictured at the top of the page. They seemed to be Tim Burton-esque, so I decided to see their full show on Thursday at 7 P.M.. Needless to say, it was awesome. I found myself to be one of the youngest people there (only older than what appeared to be a seven year old boy who was extremely freaked out). I must admit, some of the things seen in the show are more frequently the subjects of nightmares. Overall, Savage Nursery was an awesome experience at Mascoma High School (for the workshop) and at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth.

Savage Nursery by Nicole Bisbee

On October 4th and 5th Savage Nursery came to our school. Some of the students from the experiencing the arts class participated in making shadow puppets. We learned how to make shadow puppets, their joints and backgrounds. It was fun we learned different things. It was a fun experience.

The Proposal From the Hopkins Center:

This October, the Dartmouth's Hopkins center is pleased to co-commission a new puppet theater work called Savage Nursery by emerging NYC artist Erin Orr.

Erin and her company will perform "Savage" in the Bentley Theater at 7 P.M. on Thursday, October 7 and will be in town for a few days prior to conduct residency events both on- and off-campus.

Erin is a teaching artist and would like to develop a two-part shadow puppetry program with a local school. I think your kids would enjoy working with her and the subject matter (survival, family relations, etc.) of "Savage" is not for kiddies but a more "sophisticated" audience.

I'm proposing we do afternoon sessions on Mon/Tues, October 4-5. Monday's session would involved construction of shadow puppets and narratives. The second session (Tues) would be performance-oriented. Erin would like to involve her puppet team so I think there would be lots of personal contact with the artists. There's also a possibility (if you could scare up a bus) that your students could come to the Hop on Thursday to watch a dress rehearsal and see the amazing set and large-scale puppets.

"Savage" involves no text but does have two superb musicians who create a live score for the piece. It's possible we could loop in your music students to create a soundtrack to the visual arts student work.

Here's some info on Savage Nursery:

"A beautiful and unsettling tableau." The Village VOICE

A dark, fascinating fairytale, Savage Nursery is New York puppet artist Erin Orr's evocative adventure. With live music, poetic imagery and the shifting scales of Bunraku, shadow and hand puppetry, a mother bird, her fledglings and wild children survive in a sometimes cruel forest. Not intended for young children.

Erin Orr's response to the Mascoma proposal:

Here are my thoughts about the highschool workshops. I am so happy that the art teacher is excited about the project! However, rather than starting before I get there I might propose his involvement differently. I would prefer to introduce the medium and some techniques for creating shadow puppet myself. So the goals of the first session would be to introduce the medium and techniques, to have the students begin creating puppets, and to help them make plans for completing their puppets. I would be asking them to create one short visual sequence using any of the techniques that I have introduced. There wouldn't be any pressure to create a narrative. When I make puppet shows I begin with one visual sequence, one moment of interaction or transformation of revelation that I want to create. I make that moment and then sometimes that prompts other moments. Usually what happens is that in order to realize that moment fully I enlist the help of other puppeteers and musicians and their response to that one moment inspires me into other areas of exploration. I would be asking them to create just one moment. It wouldn't even have to be the first moment. If they were to keep working on the piece that one moment might become the end or the middle or get thrown out entirely. So on this first day they can work individually or in groups. They can enlist the help of my puppeteers as build consultants or performers. They may spend the whole time building or they may build a bit, play with the puppet a bit and then go back to building. They probably wont have the puppets done by the end of the first session, but my puppeteers and I would be circulating and making sure that each student had a clear plan for how to complete this one moment.

It would be great if the teacher could spend extra class time between the first and second session helping them finish their puppets. Then the second session we would be joined by the musicians and each student would have a chance to experiment with the objects and different musical possibilities. They could puppeteer themselves or use their classmates or the Savage Nursery puppeteers. The students would be asked I to watch each others work and I would lead a discussion about how the interaction between the sound and the images might change the possible meanings of the moment. I would be ask them to notice all of the possible directions in which each person's moment could be expand into a larger piece. That would be my ideal situation. If we have to present something to an audience...I would go through each piece and ask Skip and Rima to make rapid choices about how to accompany the image. Each student would puppeteer themselves and could be helped by the Savage Nursery Puppeteers. I would decide on an order we would get organized "backstage" and then the audience could come in and watch what we have come up with in the last half hour. I don't think that the entire school should be invited to something like this. There is more true educational value in being engaged in a process and having an real conversation about aesthetics and meaning than there is in trying to create a product in three hours.

Talk to you soon!


Orchid Ensemble - Heart of the Silk Road Assembly

On the Morning of October 5th, Experiencing the Arts was pleased to host the first assembly program inspired from the Wish List request from the Mascoma High School faculty. The cross curricular and broader community impact of the Experiencing the Arts programs is an area we wish to develop. This past summer, Mascoma's Ancient History teacher, Todd Guilford (Pictured below with Orchid Ensemble), attended a conference on The Heart of the Silk Road and the variety applications its study can offer to numerous curriculums -- geography, ancient history, government, science economics etc. etc.. The teacher passed along information about the Orchid Ensemble Tour (part of the Arts Alliance of Northern NH's Silk Road program). With support from the Byrne Foundation and with Mascoma Principal Patrick Andrew's coordination, we were able to hire the Orchid Ensemble for an assembly October 5th for a 3rd block assembly program. To further benefit interested classes, Experiencing the Arts asked that the Ensemble stay an additional class period after their performance for the Ancient History class, and for other teachers with classes that study China or the developments that arose from the heart of the Silk Road to join them for this fourth block. Study guides are available on the web at orchidensemble.com

"I am pleased that Experiencing the Arts was able to enable a program requested from the faculty. I look forward to coordinating this type of thing more in the future, said Experiencing the Arts Director Christopher Morse."

The Orchid Ensemble is BC's official spokesperson for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) in Canada. ASPnet helps Canadian schools develop and participate in pilot projects designed to kindle and foster a culture of peace and tolerance and to reinforce the role of education in targeting these goals.

The Orchid Ensemble blends ancient musical instruments and traditions from China and beyond, creating a beautiful new sound that is both creative and distinct. The ensemble has embraced a variety of musical styles to its repertoire, ranging from the traditional and contemporary music of China, World Music, New Music to Jazz and Creative Improvisation. The energetic yet endearing Performance style of the ensemble consistently intrigues and Delights its audiences, consistently receiving standing ovations. Acclaimed as 'One of the brightest blossoms on the world music Scene' (Georgia Straight), the Orchid Ensemble has been tirelessly Developing an innovative musical genre based on the cultural Exchange between Western and Asian musicians.

The Orchid Ensemble regularly collaborates with musicians from a wide variety of world cultures and actively commissions new works by Canadian and US composers for its unique instrumentation. The Ensemble performs regularly in concerts across North America, and at prominent World, Jazz and Folk Music festivals. Recent Appearances include The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; Canada Day Celebrations and the National Gallery in Ottawa; Vancouver International Jazz Festival; and at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.

The Orchid Ensemble is BC's official spokesperson for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) in Canada. ASPnet helps Canadian schools develop and participate in pilot projects designed to kindle and foster a culture of peace and tolerance and to Reinforce the role of education in targeting these goals.

Experiencing the Arts Performance History School Year 2003 -04

Number Attended - Date - Location - Event

21 5/14, Hood Museum Art in the East and West, AVA Gallery, 7 contemporary artists.

48 5/1, Peak Community Event, Melodrome concert, Lebanon Opera House (27 patrons plus Exp. Arts).

500 4/16 All School, Black Bear Moon drumming with 21 Exp. Arts, and 43 Chorus students performing.

37 4/16 Mrs. Breach's AP English class joined Exp. Arts, and MAP students, for the Reduced Shakespeare Co.

64 4/12-16 Resident Artists from Black Bear Moon work with 21 Exp. Arts and 43 Mascoma Chorus students.

36 4/6, Exp. Arts, MAP and 11 from Indian River Middle School, Freedom Train, Lebanon Opera House.

35 4/1, Exp. Arts, JAG, MAP, students attend The Flight Project, modern dance, Hopkins Center.

10 4/29, Lorie Andersen concert, Hopkins Center, students, faculty, parents, (ticket endowment fund).

200 4/ 30, Wreckless Abandon animation assembly, Hartford Career & Tech. Center.

21 4/30 Ahn Trio, Lebanon Opera House

21 3/21, 28 + 4/5/04 Experiencing the Arts students participate with guest jeweler Joseph De Robertis

40 Fall, 2003, 19 Experiencing the Arts students, Spring 2004, 21 Experiencing the Arts students

4 3/9 New Shanghai Circus, Lebanon Opera House (ticket endowment fund).

33 3/12, 8 Home School students, MAP, & Experiencing the Arts "Harlem Gospel Choir."

39 3/11 Ms. Patterson's History & Experiencing the Arts, "They Came for me, Remembering Anne Frank."

97 2/13 Canaan, Dorchester, Enfield, Grafton, Orange, Community Reggae Dance, Mascoma High School.

10 2/29 Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer, Lebanon Opera House, (ticket endowment fund).

458 2/11 students and faculty attended all school assemblies, La Guitar Quartet (school less class on field trip).

42 2/11, Exp. Arts, JAG, MAP, and Job Quest, students attend Theatre of the Deaf at Lebanon Opera House -- continuing to Vermont to watch glass blowing demonstration & tour at Simon Pierce Glassworks.

42 2/5, Portfolio, Art 2, Exp. Arts, docent tour of "Lateral Thinking: Art of the 1990's," Hood Museum of Art.

46 10/03, Mascoma Art & Indian River Art students & faculty attend Scholastic Art Show, Bedford, NH.

500 11/6 students attended all school assemblies, Fences.

500 12/10 students attended all school assemblies, Kunsun Ensemble, also numerous Indian River students.

30 12/11, attended Thursday, Kennedy Center's opera The Emperor's New Clothes.

38 1/15, attended the Doug Varone and Dancers (Experiencing the Arts, MAP students and JAG students).

13 11/14 Indian River students joined Experiencing the Arts field trip to hear Wayfaring Strangers.

100 11/8 attended Inner Visions reggae, Peak Community Event & Fund Raiser.

32 11/7, from Advanced Placement English Joined Experiencing the Arts for August Wilson's Fences.

14 11/5, Art 2 students joined Experiencing the Arts a presentation by guest artist Peter Bramhall.

19 10/17, attended Africa on Display, (Experiencing the Arts, MAP students).

80 10/6-10/03 students participated for a week with guest artists Deborah Andersen.

2 10/6-10/03 faculty participated for a week with guest artist Deborah Andersen.

500 9/29 students attended all school assemblies, Coyote's World.

30 9/25 attended Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo Puppets, Followed by a tour of Coming of Age in Ancient Greece at the Hood Museum P.M. - 2:30 PM (Experiencing the Arts, MAP students and JAG students).

3662 Number attending Experiencing the Arts events

813 Total number of artists and performers (by low estimate events above) 667 Number of NH artists (including 600 NH student artists at the Scholastic Art Awards show) 7 at AVA Gallery, 68 at Mascoma High School all school assembly - 64 students, 4 Black Bear Moon artists, Joseph DeRobertis, Deborah Andersen,

Experiencing the Arts Performance History School Year 2002 -03

List number of individuals benefiting:
18 experiencing the Arts students in the Fall
12 Experiencing the Arts students in the Spring
500 students attended each of four events all school assemblies
80 students a day participated with guest artists Mark Ragoneese
80 students a day participated with guest artists Richard Foye
20 students from Indian River School attended a Raku pottery firing demonstration
156 attended the Spring Peak community event
21 attended the Fall Peak community event
18 including parents attended a night Raku pottery firing demonstration and bar-b-q
18 members of the Spanish Class went to Plena Libre
40 students from Indian River School went to field trip events 20 x two trips
13 students from the portfolio class went to a field trip Clara‚s Dream at the Hopkins Center
18 students from Mascoma‚s Alternative Program went on two field trips
12 members of the Jobs for NH Graduates went on two field trips
8 members os the philosophy class joined Experiencing the Arts students to see Matrix Reloaded
13 members of Kids Count Day Care went to hear Jazz at the Hopkins Center
43 Mascoma Parents and families went to the WOFA African drumming at Lebanon Opera House
13 music students from Cardigan Mountain School went to hear Jazz at the Hopkins Center
1083 Total

Number of Artists participating first at the school itself:
8 members of Groove Alliance
1 Mark Ragoneese
2 Perry Allen Theatre
4 Advice to the Players Shakespeare presentation of
No Holds Bard"
1 Peggy Seegar
1 Dee Rogers stave puzzle designer
1 Richard Foye guest Raku potter
8 WOFA African drummers and dancers
26 Total performers at school itself

In addition: the number of performers at the events we went to:
2 9/21/02, folk music with Roger McGuinn & Special Guest
10 (estimated) 10/9/02, Latin music, Plena Libre
6 (estimated) 10/10/02, flamenco dance, Noche Flamenca
1 11/20/02, art, Jose Clemente Orozco easel studies and mural studies
10 (estimated) 12/9/02, Clara‚s Dream, jazz Nutcracker
6 (estimated) Date 1/10 Pilobolus, dance
2 Date -1/30/03, 2 Photo shows, Ambassadors of Progress & Hampton Project African & Native Americans
5 Artists showing at the AVA Gallery when we visited
10 (estimated) 3/5/03, dance and music, WOFA: Percussion & Dance from Guinea, West Africa
10 (estimated) 4/2/03, Inside the Floating World: Japanese
Prints from the Lenoir C. Wright Collection
20 (estimated) 5/16/03, art, They Still Draw Pictures: Children‚s Art in Wartime
8 (estimated) 4/16/03, jazz history and music Stolen Moments: 100 Years of Jazz
10 (estimated) 5/7/03 American Dreams Lost and Found.
3 5/9/03, Native American dance, Kevin Locke Trio.
4 5/24/03 Spring Peak Community Event - Northern Lights Bluegrass music.
107 Total artists/performers at shows we attended away from school
133 (approximately) artists were exposed the students, (26 at the school, 107 at events we went to)

NH artists participating: 10
Christopher Morse, Director
four of the Groove Alliance
Dee Rogers, Stave Puzzle designer
Mark Ragoneese
4 members of Advice to the Players

Number of communities benefiting, seven:
Hanover (the Hopkins Center does benefit from our attendance)

Total number of youths participating: 884
total number less the attendees of the Spring Peak Community Event and 43 WOFA voucher users

100% the project activities were directed toward arts education all activities included members of the Experiencing the Arts class

One activity included pre kindergarten all the rest were including K-12 students and adults

64 Teachers at Mascoma attended the all school assemblies. Four faculty from Indian River School came to field trips/demonstrations

10 Administrators, the principal, assistant principal, members of the guidance department and many of the office staff and janitorial staff joined us at the all school performances

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