Experiencing the Arts has joined Connecticut RiverFest Creating an Environment & Arts Week & Festival

2006 April 10th through the 15th was Environment & Arts Week. Sponsored by Experiencing the Arts, a nonprofit Arts enrichment program hosted by Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, NH, the week included a combination of residencies, school assembly programs, workshops, presentations, and performances culminating on Saturday, April 15th with an Environment & Arts Festival. During the week, more than 45 class periods were enriched by these programs. In addition, there were two all school assembly programs for the 500 students of Mascoma Valley Regional High School: FLOCK Dance Troupe performed, and David Deen the Connecticut River Steward presented a power point presentation. Classes participated in Science, Industrial Arts, English, Musical Theatre, and Experiencing the Arts. The programs also included Students from Indian River School. Click here for details and photographs of the week's activities Environment & Arts Schedule

With the blessing of the Enfield Village Association, the Environment & Arts Festival was hosted at Enfield, NH's beautiful Huse Park also using their 240 seat Community Center. Connecticut RiverFest found excellent presenters for the week and at the festival. The program is a collaboration between the Experiencing the Arts program and Mascoma's Science department. The workshops during the week were aimed at high school students. The evening events and Festival of April 15th were for the general public - a "family friendly" event. There were demonstrations, preformers, exhibitions, demonstrations, The Cardigan Art Association exhibited and the Lions Club provided food. Click here for Festival details and photographs April 15, 2006 Environment & Arts Festival

The Experiencing the Arts students worked all year to enhance the Enfield River Walk located on an island in the Mascoma River a short walk from the festival. The students constructed a sculpture of a tortoise (pictured above). It represents the earth and was chosen to inspire people to take the time to examine nature while enjoying the Mascoma River Walk. The trail loops around the small island and has benches placed along the Mascoma River. The tortoise sculpture is placed at the beginning of the River Walk trail. Each student chose plants and animals that live in the Mascoma watershed. They painted these animals on panels and placed them along the River Walk trail. Each student also made castings to produce ceramic tiles of their animals to sell at the event.

During the week preceding the festival Experiencing the Arts, Musical Theatre, and other students worked with Sharon Gouveia from FLOCK dance troupe. FLOCK dance works with interpretive dance about the forces of Earth Wind Fire and Water and issues about the environment. Participating students and other community members were part of the performance at the Festival.

Cash for Dragons

Shakespeare Movement Workshop with NESE's Sean Eastman

On April 6th the students in Experiencing the Arts enjoyed the second Shakespeare workshop brought to us through an outreach program sponsored by the Northeast Shakespeare Ensemble's (NESE) coordinator for school programs, Natalie Davis and her Grant writer Andy Supplee. NESE's Sean Eastman lead an energetic movement workshop designed to get students to add gesture to their words.

Sean Eastman was very successful getting the 19 students involved. One can see from the photographs (below) the enthusiasm that he inspired. In addition to the workshop, each participant was given three tickets to their full production of As You Like It at Lebanon Opera House. I am extremely grateful to Natlie Davis (and her Grant writer Andy Supplee) for the continued generosity working with Mascoma as well as to Sean Eastman for his captivating energy and hard work.

"Sean Eastman has been involved in theatre, wether it be as an actor, director, student, or teacher, for the past 16 years. Born into a family of teachers, it is not surprising that Sean has actively sought out some of the highest caliber pedagogy offered in the theatrical arena.

After high school at Kimball Union Academy, Sean joined the Bread and Puppet Circus. He started his college career at Carnegie Mellon University, finishing his degree in Theatre Arts at Sarah Lawrence College. While in college he took a year abroad at L'Ecole International du Theatre de Jacques Lecoq studying movement, gestural theatre in all its forms: clowning, improvisation with international masters and mask work. While in Paris, Sean Eastman cofounded the Pirate Theatre (an international improvisation troupe) and Prospero's Wagon Players (a Shakesperian street theatre troupe).

Sean Eastman returned to the Upper Valley as Stage Director for Revels North for the 2001-04 seasons. During this time, he was also a teacher at Runnemead School (an independent day school in New Hampshire's Upper Valley). For three years, he taught Theatre to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Recently, he converted a moving truck into a traveling stage. He plans to tour New England casting and directing original work through the summer and autumn of 2006."

Talks are underway with Experiencing the Arts for a Winter Carnival collaboration between NESE and Mayhem Poets for some theatrical competition between the classes! This would be a head to head improvisional theatre workshop and performance between Slam Poetry and the work of William Shakespeare. Sean Eastman has met with Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse and Principal Patrick Andrew about these plans. Morse has had positive responses from Mayhem Poets about the concept.

D.B. Johnson Inspires Mascoma's Read Across America Program

Through the Experiencing the Arts program, Mascoma Valley Regional High School enjoyed Read Across America Day on March 2nd with guest D.B. Johnson, writer and nationally acclaimed illustrator from Lebanon, NH. D.B. Johnson is perhaps best known for his recent series of four children's books on the life and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau: Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Builds a Cabin, Henry Climbs a Mountain, and Henry Works. All of these books are on display in the Mascoma library. Outside the door of the library was a Connecticut Valley Spectator article about him published just before the event.

For D.B. Johnson, the trip to Canaan was a trip back to his roots. Johnson spent his childhood in Canaan. Mascoma Librarian, Mary Swainbank arranged three sessions with Jonhson enabling about two hundred students an opportunity to interact with the writer/illustrator. These sessions covered different aspects of his work and that of the subject of Henry David Thoreau.

1) The first session from 9:00 - 10:00 AM was for students taking art. The session covered different art styles and the process of creating and producing a book for publication. Mr. Johnson shared many illustrations that he had done for publications covering a wide variety of topical issues. He also treated the group to a lesson in how to draw his bear character Henry.

2) The second session from 10:15 - 11:15 AM was for students taking American Literature and students who took Nature Writing last semester. The session covered Thoreau and civil disobedience, and how Johnson developed Henry Climbs a Mountain to teach Thoreau's philosophy. Before Johnson's visit, these students are preparing for this session by reading "Economy" from Walden and Civil Disobedience by Thoreau.

3) The third session from 12:39 - 1:40 PM was both for students who took Children's Literature Fall semester, as well as students who are taking it now. The session covered the different styles of development that Johnson used in the Henry books.

It was clear, Mascoma's Read Across America program was successful because of the thoughtful preparation by the students, teachers, D.B. Johnson and the organizer of the event Librarian, Mary Swainbank. D.B. Johnson had an excellent rapport with the students, his presentations were rich with content and well illustrated with slides that he had carefully arranged for each presentation.

Alash, Tuvan throat singer's assembly

Dartmouth's Outreach brought Mascoma High School, Alash, an ensemble of Tuvan throat singers, for an all school assembly on March 1st. The assembly was part of a two-weeks residency with Alash at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center for the Arts. Mascoma greatly enjoyed the performance and many followed Alash to their next show at the Rollins Chapel at Dartmouth. There was an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the performance -- it was beyond what the students could have imagined. We are grateful to Dartmouth Outreach for this amazing show. Below is information from their web site:

"Testing the limits of vocal ingenuity, throat-singers can create sounds unlike anything in ordinary speech and song - carrying two musical lines simultaneously, say, or harmonizing with a waterfall. (Theodore C. Levin and Michael E. Edgerton, Scientific American, September 20, 1999). Alash, an ensemble of young musicians from Republic of Tuva, Russia, will perform traditional throat singing accompanied by indigenous instruments, in its only New York concert. Named after a Tuvan river, the group was created in 1999 under the artistic leadership of Ondar Kongar-ool (pictured performing with Alash), a prominent Tuvan musician and protagonist of the Award winning film Genghis Blues. Alash has won numerous awards in festivals and competitions throughout Russia, Central Asia, and Europe."

Easy Button Challenge

Mascoma Valley Regional High School Art Club students challenge you to come up with a work of Art that incorporates the Easy Button. Staples has been selling a button that seems to promise to make everything easy. When you push the button a voice says "That was easy." The sale of the button benefits the Boy's Club and Girl's Clubs of America so buying one does do something good. The one pictured was purchased. It is a good idea to purchase your own if you need to make studies.

The Art Club discussions that have surrounded this conceptual magic button have inspired the Art Club to extend this challenge. We will sponsor a show of the submissions (Location & Judges TBA, subject matter for display at show's discretion). The show will be coordinated with our Environment & Art Festival in Huse Park, Enfield, NH. There will be prizes for the best.

If you would like to donate your piece, proceeds from its sale will go to the Art Club (if you are famous and want to help us out, let us know who you are and include a suggested retail value of your donation). If you want your work returned you must make arrangements for pick up with the submission of your piece and/or include return shipping and a suitable reusable shipping container. (Work may be picked up at Mascoma High School after the show ends).

Student Teaches Teachers Wheel Thrown Pottery

The Art Club has been pleased to sponsor beginner classes in wheel thrown pottery with Mascoma student Zach Boykins as the instructor. Zach has taught students at the League of NH Craftsmen and assisted many Art one students at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. Science Teacher Mary Wenig describes Zach's teaching, "The old adage, "those who can't do, teach," does not pertain to Zach Boykins. Zach is close to being an expert potter - as seen in his work on display in the school - and is an excellent teacher. He has had three adult students centering, throwing and getting extremely messy. Each student had at least one piece to show by the end of the first class. Each is excited to continue learning from their student teacher."

When Zach first sat down to the wheel he found he had a knack for it; he was able to center the clay his first try. He has taken advantage of opportunities afforded to him by resident artists Sarah Heimann, and Christine Merriman (sponsored by Experiencing the Arts) and he has enjoyed programs at the League of NH Craftsmen in Hanover. This year, Zach was able to help get Ara Cardew, (the potter he has often worked with at the League) to be our Fall resident artist at Mascoma. Zach sees a real possibility of becoming a potter and teacher for his career. Most recently, a piece of Zach's pottery won an Honorable Mention at the Scholastic Art Awards. Classes are Wednesday afternoons. Classes limited to four people per session. Suggested donation $10 session.

Ara Cardew Artist in Residence

In December, Ara Cardew was our guest artist at Mascoma. He taught us how to do pottery on the wheel. He was from England (and spoke with an accent). He teaches pottery at the League of NH Craftsmen shop in Hanover. We started out just playing with the clay. Then we began to play with the wet clay on the wheel. We learned how to throw pots. Mr. Morse showed us the basics, how to center and how to pull the clay walls to make them rise. When Ara came in, he showed us how to make different types of pots like bowls, cups and even vases. First he showed us how to shape the pots. He showed us how to use the wheel and the utensils that go with it. I learned to make cereal bowls.

Then, Ara Cardew showed us how to put designs into the thrown shapes. We learned about how to use the wooden utensils and how they can put creases in the pots. He showed us how to use a wire to slice part way through the sides of the pot and then when the shape was stretched out from the inside the slices began to spiral and spread out.

We saw how the wet clay objects were fired and became hard. Ara showed us how to paint the glazes onto the pots on the wheel. This allowed us to get rhythm in the designs; like lines smoothly waving up and down or spirals widening out from the center. After the glazes were painted onto the pots, back into the kiln they went. It took three or four days to do everything the right way. I really enjoyed this section of Experiencing the Arts! -Krystal Ramos

Skip Gorman Brings the Wild West Home for Two Mascoma District Schools

Experiencing the Arts school wide assembly at Mascoma High School was only a part of Skip Gorman's interaction with Mascoma District schools. We were delighted that he agreed to also perform for the Indian River Middle School and meet with History, Experiencing The Arts and other classes. With the classes he offered a more intimate look into the days of the cowboys and the Western expansion around the time of the Civil War. Mr. Gorman took time to carefully explain the evolution of the period as well as the instruments themselves. We learned that the first banjo was invented in Africa; made from a stick and a gourd which evolved in America into the shape we recognize. It was an honor to have Mr. Gorman share so generously with the other school and classes -- he is a performer with significant recognition.

He has performed on ABC's Good Morning America (from WY), A Prairie Home Companion (NPR from WY), and on the Soundtrack of Ken Burns' PBS documentary, Lewis & Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery.

You can learn more about his accomplishments at his website at skipgorman.com: "Through his music, Skip Gorman brings back to life the workaday world of the cowboys of the American West. His music is not the music of the Hollywood cowboy, but rather the simple, yet beautifully poignant music that was performed around campfires by cowboys and westward settlers in the 19th century. Gorman brings to the music a scholar's knowledge of the cowboy's Celtic, Spanish and Afro-American roots as well as the personal experience gained by working as a cowboy on a ranch in Wyoming, along with an exquisite touch as a singer, guitarist, fiddler and mandolinist."

Many of the Mascoma students had Mr. Gorman as a Spanish teacher when he taught at Indian River School. The Grafton resident said he enjoyed coming back to perform for his former students.

Experiencing the Arts student Carrie Bladyka had this to say about Skip's performance: "The school wide assembly with Señor Skip Gorman was highly enjoyable. He began by explaining his fairly common instruments, telling of their history, which surely most people did not know. After a demonstration of each, he told interesting mostly-true tales all of western influence. One about stampeding bulls, another of a boy on his first cattle drive. There was a song to go with each tale. The music was the beginning of what we now call "country," even the mainstream country and bluegrass. Señor Gorman was very good about dealing with the audience, having dealt with this age group many times before."

Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse summarizes "Experiencing the Arts benefited from Skip Gorman's generosity in our effort to expand the program's cross curricular and broader community impact of the Arts. With Skip, we got allot of interaction for our assembly budget. Not only did he perform, he had students interact with him learning to strum the banjo and join in singing the songs. I would highly recommend Skip Gorman to schools as the cover the period of Westward expansion and the influences of other cultures in the evolution of country music and America."

"Shakespeare On Your Feet!" Workshop At Mascoma

Twenty nine Mascoma students and three faculty joined the Northeast Shakespeare Ensemble (NESE) for an intensive in-school workshop designed to "dust off of the notion that Shakespeare wrote stuffy junk." Mascoma became one of the four host school's for the outreach program through a collaboration between their Experiencing the Arts program and NESE's coordinator for school programs, Natalie Davis. Davis, a retired secondary school teacher living in new London had read in the NH State Council on the Arts newsletter last winter that Experiencing the Arts was named a model Artlinks program. She asked Director, Christopher Morse if Mascoma would support their grant agreeing to be a host school for the Shakespeare outreach program. "I was happy have a professional Shakespeare troop give us an intensive workshop for thirty students! I had no idea at that time really how generous they were being," exclaimed Morse, "in addition to the workshop, each participant was given three tickets to their full production of Much Ado About Nothing at Lebanon Opera House. Their workshop was full of the texture and details of Shakespeare's time -- they really helped make it come alive. I have had many positive comments from participating students as well as from teachers and parents who enjoyed their production of Much Ado About Nothing. I am extremely grateful to Natlie Davis and her Grant writer Andy Supplee and to NESE actors Chris Seiler and Daniel Carlton for their spirited workshop. This collaboration is great example of the way the NH State Council on the Arts Artlinks grant program builds partnerships -- I look forward to any future collaboration!"

Students from the Drama Class, Chorus, English, and Experiencing the Arts joined the workshop. As the title suggests, they learned about Shakespeare on their feet. Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, the Executive Director and Director of Education for Shenandoah Shakespeare created this very effective workshop to "explore the dynamic of performing Shakespeare rather than just reading the text." The students first got to try deliver a spicy Shakespearian verbal jab. Next they were divided into small groups and hurled some of Shakespeare's sharpest insults at the other groups. They were divided again into a line emphasizing the accented syllables of iambic pentameter. It was physical. Throughout the workshop NESE actors Chris Seiler and Daniel Carlton kept the energy high delivering great historic notes and coaching the students individually and in their groups. They both spoke to the whole group and worked with each student individually. Students commented the hour went by too fast!

Mascoma was one of four host schools for the NESE outreach program. They were also hosted by Stevens High School in Claremont, Kearsarge Regional High School, and Bow High School. NESE received its funding from the NH State Council on the Arts Artlinks program, the McIninch Foundation, and the NH Charitable Foundation. For more information about NESE visit their web site at www.NESEtheatre.org

"Please note: Shakespeare on your Feet workshop topic is the creation of Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, Executive Director and Director of Education for shenandoah Shakespeare, and may not be reproduced or published (in full or in part) without acknowledgement of their authorship."

Hood Museum & Montshire Museum, Double Field Trip October 18th, By Carrie Bladyka

The 18th of October was a seriously fun day for the semester one Experiencing the Arts class and the Art 2 classes. First was a half hour long bus ride to the Hood Museum at Dartmouth to see two shows: Collectanea and So Much Trouble in the World - Believe It or Not! Admittedly, Collectanea at times failed to hold my attention (and I know a few of my classmates were less than impressed). Although it had a few very cool artifacts (my favorite being a figure with a massive strange smile and its hands tied behind its back), it was a very run-of-the-mill (small) show. The tour guide spent all too much time explaining each piece and people were just not really into it. Before moving on we were allowed a few minutes to look at various paintings of the Hood's permanent collection (which consisted of one of my all time favorites). Upon finishing Collectanea and making our way up the stairs, our attitudes were immediately changed. The first thing that caught your eye as you reached the second floor and Fred Wilson's So Much Trouble in the World - Believe It or Not! was an intense bright pink/red colored platform, wall and stands. There were very traditional-looking portraits and grey/off-white busts which would have been something short of interesting had it not been for the amazing backdrop color. It had a way of holding your attention. Moving on the walls changed to a deep plum color. The first exhibit was a series of more interesting in-color busts. People it seemed of Native and African-American heritage. Most seemed to have a rather solemn look on their face and none were smiling, all seemed to have a story. One in particular was a story of a beautiful African-American boy who was brought by force from his homeland and exploited like an animal in a zoo. Another was a series of hands in different positions, about which I failed to learn the significance, (although it did look neat). In the furthest room there were various paintings. Most were shrouded in a cut of black material. The shrouded paintings were of violence and death, so I'm supposing Fred was just making the more depressing images optional. All in all, a very good show.

After the Hood we were set loose in Hanover to find lunch (which we found at Subway and Ben & Jerry's). After much needed nourishment and relaxation, we boarded the bus and headed to the Montshire Museum, a place I have not visited in years. Two whole hours of frivolous bliss. We ran around outside, played with sound waves, studied ants, powered an elevator via bicycle, watched fish, looked at frogs, made paper helicopters, sent a metal ball bearing for a spin, sent pennies for a loop, stood inside bubbles, measured dinosaurs, looked at lynx and birds of prey, altered fog patterns, played a giant Xylaphone, spat off the highest possible point, played with worms, looked at life-like dinosaurs, patted a taxidermy moose, and felt like a six-year-old again.

The all around fabulous day of course had to have its down sides. This one's only down side happened to be on the bus ride home when (nutty) students decided to make themselves smell sexy with Axe cologne ($#&*%#!!!). END. By Carrie Bladyka

Experiencing the Arts Peak Event Supports Youth Education Series.

Excitement is building for Mascoma's Experiencing the Arts students as they look forward to bringing The Boys Choir of Kenya to the Upper Valley. This year's Peak Community Event will also help support the Lebanon Opera House's Youth Education Series (YES). During the day of October 12th the Kenya Boys will be performing for several dozen schools that participate with the YES program and at 7:00 P.M. that evening they will perform for the general public for the Experiencing the Arts fund raiser.

Lebanon Opera House is partners with Experiencing the Arts through the NH State Council on the Arts Artlinks program. For the past three years they have generously offered the use of the Opera House for the fund raisers. "The fund raising component was not always successful," said Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse, "I didn!=t want to loose sight of the benefit of having a student run event, but wanted to better maximize the contribution of the event, as arts event for the Upper Valley, our partners at Lebanon Opera House, and as our fund raiser. I asked Lebanon Opera House Director, Buzz Boswell and Associate Director, Heather Clow if we could use our efforts to help sponsor events that they would also include on their YES roster. In this way, even if the fund raising component didn!=t live up to our hopes, we would be benefiting the students that come to the YES events." In response to this new collaboration, Lebanon Opera House helped coordinate two spectacular events for the Experiencing the Arts Peak Events this year -- both performers will also perform for their YES shows. The October 12th event with The Boys Choir of Kenya, and on April 27th a three component event with Blues guitarist, Joe Bonamassa: at 10:00 A.M. Bonnamassa will perform for YES, from 1-3 P.M. Mascoma Hosts Master Guitar Class with Joe Bonamassa, and at 7:00 P.M. that evening he will perform at Lebanon Opera House for the Experiencing the Arts Peak Community Event.

Each Experiencing the Arts student has designed a poster for the October 12th Kenya Boys Choir concert. They have been watching films about Kenya, and look forward to communicating with members of the group when they arrive for their tour in America. At the event they will act as ushers, help the choir, and participate in the many facets of running an event.

"Nothing would be more exciting for the Experiencing the Arts students than to have a big crowd come to support their efforts," says Morse, "The Kenya Boys Choir is an exuberant performance, inspirational, not to be missed. Their performance is a spectacle of sounds and sights, bright costumes, and a variety of music. Please, come join us for The Boys Choir of Kenya, October 12th, 7:00 P.M., Lebanon Opera House, call 603-448-0400, for reserved seats $15."

From their website:

Since their first participation in the Kenyan Music Festivals in 1989, no other African youth choir has dominated peer competition or revealed the heart of Africa like the Boys Choir of Kenya. Based in Nairobi, the choir has earned acclaim throughout Kenya and abroad as a disciplined choral program with a work ethic that parallels the King's College Cambridge Choir and the Harlem Boys Choir. Performing a diverse repertoire from traditional Masaai and Samburu chants to contemporary pieces from around Africa, as well as an inspired corpus of European and American choral classics ranging from Bach to Mozart, Negro Spirituals, and Caribbean folk songs the Boys Choir of Kenya is Africa's first boy choir of international repute. A performance of the Boys Choir of Kenya is simply an experience of a lifetime, a spectacle both aurally and visually captivating and, oh, the costumes!

YES = Lebanon Opera House, SPS = Hopkins Center, H = Hood Museum

SPS Wednesday, September 28 9:15 Yunnan Revealed
YES Wednesday, October 12 10:00 Kenya Boys Choir
Also 10/12, Lebanon Opera House - Peak event 7 P.M. Kenya Boys Choir
H Tuesday, October 18, double, 10:00 Collectanea and Fred Wilson
Also 10/18, Montshire Museum of Science, Chinese Dinosaurs
SPS Wednesday, November 16, double 10:00, Catch Karamazov Brothers
Also, 11/16th, Hood Museum Permanent Collection 12:30 - 1:30
SPS Friday, January 20, 9:15 Grandchildren Buffalo Soldiers
Bedford, NH, Date TBA Scholastic Art Awards (one of these dates 1/23-27)
H Tuesday, January 31, 10:00, East Asian Art docent tour
SPS Wednesday, February 8, 9:15 Warabi-Za Japanese Music (with Koby's Drama Class)
YES Thursday, February 16, 10:00 Mayhem Poets theatrical poetry
SPS Friday, March 31, Jarocho Festival w/Spanish Class
April 10-15 Environmental Awareness Community Outreach Week
H Tuesday, April 25, double, 10:00, Rembrandt,
Also, 4/25, tour of the Cartoon School White River Jct. VT
YES Thursday, April 27th (ED) 10:00, Joe Bonamassa
Mascoma Hosts Master Guitar Class with Joe Bonamassa, 1-3 P.M.
Lebanon Opera House, Peak Community Event 7:00 P.M., Joe Bonamassa, Blues
SPS Friday, May 12, double, 10:00, Pamyua Indigenous Alaskan Music
Also 5/12, 10:00, Hood Museum, Dancing Spirits Art of New Guinea

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