In the school year, 2006-07, the program will be entering its fifth year in practice and sixth year since its creation. The program has succeeded in far exceeding its initial benefit as a class bringing programs to the entire school and broader community as well as sponsoring dozens of field trips to arts events. Our partners in this program include the Lebanon Opera House, The Hopkins Center Outreach Department at Dartmouth College, and AVA Gallery. We also work closely with the Education Department at the Hood Museum of Art. These organizations offer excellent educational material in conjunction with all their programs making it possible to include other classes that could benefit with the vitality of an arts experience in the six areas of the arts covered by the Experiencing the Arts program (Theater, Media Arts, Visual Arts, Dance, Music, and Writing/Poetry).

I am very excited and encouraged by the reception from the community and faculty for our effort to broaden the cross curricular and broader community impact of Experiencing the Arts. We have sought to expand the cross curricular and broader community impact of the Arts with Mascoma. The program has succeeded in exciting the participation of several classes and has successfully implemented suggestions from other teachers and staff.

Within the school Experiencing the Arts has made partners of Mascoma's Alternative Program and other classes often including additional students on field trips. These partnerships enable teachers to enhance their curriculum and students in "at risk" categories to benefit from the enrichment opportunities. I am also excited to tell you of growth in our Artlinks partnerships and of new participation from other organizations.

Bonna Wieler, Executive Director,Connecticut RiverFest, Inc. joined us to develop our Environment and Arts Week and Festival. The success of this has us planning to repeat the event, April 9-14, 2007 -- the family friendly Festival is on April 14th in beautiful Huse Park, Enfield, NH.

Experiencing the Arts was designated as a model Artlinks program by the NH State Council on the Arts (Winter, 2005 article). This allowed me to imagine how Experiencing the Arts could work as a model. By using Patrick Andrew's Assembly Day Schedule at other schools, and allowing Art teachers at participating schools to have an experiential course as one of their five preparations, Experiencing the Arts could serve as a model for other school districts. Imagine a series of performances linked by the cross curricular impact, thematic, ethnic, or content based themes -- maximizing the impact of a series of performances -- block booked for cost efficiency by sister schools close enough geographically to allow performers to coordinate several performances during their visit. I imagine that a partnership such as exists between the Lebanon Opera House and Experiencing the Arts could become the seed to enable an Arts enrichment curriculum that could efficiently serve schools even without the advantage of having facilities such as Lebanon Opera House or The Hopkins Center.

Experiencing the Arts has been honored to continue to win the Artlinks grant support and matching support from Mascoma School District. We have also enjoyed generous support from the Byrne Foundation and Mascoma Bank Foundation. You can e-mail Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse

The Memorial Eagle made by Experiencing the Arts and Art Club was placed in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Grafton, NH.

Mayhem Poets - At Home in the 'Scoma Dome!

Experiencing the Arts brought Mayhem Poets to Mascoma High School for a four day residency through funding from the Walker Fund. Experiencing the Arts is also funded by the NH State Council on the Arts and the Byrne Foundation. Mayhem Poets started their residency with an all school performance. This helped excite interest in their workshops. They had three two hour workshops each day. The workshops were divided by class in conjunction with Winter Carnival Week so that the students could participate for points for their class at the talent show. Each year the MVRHS Student Council coordinates a week long Winter Carnival. Each day the classes compete for points in typical activities such as volleyball, three-legged races, snow sculpture, and a talent show. This has been a spirit-building week. Last year, there was an outcry from the faculty to include some kind of an academic component to the week. The student council voted to include the Mayhem Poets residency as part of the 2007 Winter Carnival. The entire 9th grade class (nearly 100 students), three Sophomore English classes (about 70), and a select group of about twenty Juniors and Seniors participated with Experiencing the Arts (15 students) in the workshops. This year, at the Winter Carnival Talent Show, each grade was represented with a slam poetry entry.

From the Mayhem Poets: "Thanks for the opportunity to come to Mascoma, we enjoyed working with the different classes throughout the week and were pleased to see such creativity, imagination and considerable risk taking from the students with such an unfamilar art form. I really appreciate you switching the schedule around so I could work with the juniors and seniors 5th period and thanks for sending those links. The blog page and pictures look great. We'd love to hear from the particpants on how they felt their performances went or if their were any additional questions they might have for us. They can email us at mayhempoets@yahoo.com or thru our myspace page. Hope the rest of the year goes smoothly and we can visit again in the future."

What follows are student journal entries and a poems by participating students as well as images of the Mayhem poets working with the groups. Additional journal entries and reviews will be added to this article as they are received.

Journal entries by Colleen McCleary


The first day of the mayhem poets workshop went really well. not many people had signed up at first, but after the performance a lot more people joined.

The poets started by giving us a little background information about themselves, most people were actually interested. The poets then gave us a warm-up activity of writing anything that came to mind. I wrote about color which I really enjoyed. I think because the poets gave us so much freedom to write about whatever, everyone participated and enjoyed it.

Next the poets broke us into teams and had us create team names and slogans to share. My team was the Love Machines and our slogan was we love, we are not programmed to hate. Everyone else's team name and slogan were also funny. everyone really seems to enjoy having fun with it.

Next, the poets told us to write an advertisement for one of three objects, a hammer, a mirror, or a watch. Everyone got busy with the task. My team really seemed to enjoy it. Then we shared what we wrote will our team and then proceed the pick one person to read their writing in front of the whole group. Every group had someone willing to share. Some advertisements were ordinary but most were creative and funny.

After the sharing, we learned about word chains, they can be horizontal, vertical, and zig zag. the poets gave us one word and we branched off from that. For example, the poets gave us the word square, and I made this chain: Square dance revolutionary war and peace.

At the end of the workshop the poets gave us an assignment to write a love poet to an inanimate object and we read an example they created out loud. I wrote a love poem about Jello.

Dear Jello

I see you in your bowl
cubes of cherry flavored delight
-tape that bowl, I think I might.
And there it is your sexy little jiggle,
you got more groove than all of The Wiggles.

You have more colors too,
pink, green and sunny yellow,
Your sweet gelatin core is perfection,
My Jell-o fellow

I walk down the chinese food aisle,
and your in a lil' dish,
but you still got style

I don't even mind that gelatin contains horse feet.
Jell-o, the other red meat.
Before I drop this beat
I got these words to speak:

Jell-o, you wiggled your way,
into my heart.

-Colleen McCleary (poem performed in talent show)

Journal entries by Colleen McCleary continued

2/6/07 Some students that were at the workshop yesterday did not show up today because they couldn't miss their regular classes, but the group remained about the same size because a few more people joined.

We shared our homework poems with the original group we had yesterday while one of the other poets worked with the other new people to introduce them to the slam style of poetry. Everyone except for a couple of people did the homework assignment. Everyone's poems we really good, some really captured the slam poetry style while other stayed a more regular poetry style. I wrote a poem about jell-o. I am really proud of it. We next learned more word play techniques, like double meanings. They gave us an example sheet with phrases on it like "I rock like Plymouth" or "I rock like paper sissors," we said these examples out loud and then created our own with different beginnings. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and have fun.

After this we learned about list poems and how to make them. We started writing our own after reading their example out loud. They gave us a homework assignment of finishing our list poems.

To end the day we finished out with a really fun activity; we created our own super heroes, their name, power and weakness. We shared these characters with the group as if we actually were the hero. I was bagel boy with the power to satisfy your carb cravings and my only one weakness is the Atkins diet.


We began the day by sharing our list poems while some new people did the superhero activity from yesterday. I liked the idea of the list poem, but I don't think the poem I made was as good as the one I made yesterday, but I shared it any way after encouragement from the poets and group. Not as many people did the homework assignment as yesterday, but few who did do it made really good and impressive poems. Everyone really liked them.

The poets worked with us on one poem that we wanted to improve by having us write a story/poem about how we got the inspiration to write the poem. We made the stories exciting by exaggerating them, like a tall tale. After that, they suggested that we incorporate a song or tune into it. Once we tried that, they had us incorporate an animal noise or action into the poem if we could. Everyone was able to do either one or both of these things and we shared our new and improved poems and they other new people shared their superheroes.

Once everyone that wanted to share did, the poets had us do an improvisational poem by having two people join them in standing in a line and they made up a poem by having each person only say one word at a time to form a sentence, it was really fun.

2/8/07 The last day of the mayhem poet workshop was used to review, share and prepare. We all went around in a circle and read one of our finished poems and everyone else gave us comments on how we could perform the poem. Then we talked with the Mayhem Poets about how to further our educations in performance or visual arts, such as what collage majors we could pick or what jobs we could maybe get.

After that I joined forces with my friend Eben and we sort of mixed our two totally different poems into one performance poetry piece with help from the poets. We practiced it after figuring it all out. When it came time to perform the poem in front of the whole school with Eben I was to nervous because we had practiced and if something did go wrong we could always just improvise. Finally reciting the poem was very fun. I love performing. We completed the poem with only a few minor errors that didnĂ­t really mess anything up to bad. The audience seemed to like it a lot and they even laughed at the humorous parts of the poem. The judged seemed to enjoy it also, and they must have because Eben and I were ecstatic to learn the next day that we had won the poetry slam.

Overall, the Mayhem poets workshops were very rewarding for me and my class mates. I learned a lot and discovered that I liked poetry a lot more than I thought. It really opened my eyes to a new kind of performance art. Just the performance the poets gave to the whole school had a great impact on every in the school as a whole. I heard several times form people who would not normally enjoy poetry that it was the best assembly the school has ever had. The respect given to the Mayhem Poets by the student body was way greater than any other Experiencing the Arts assembly we have ever had.

Journal entries by Nic Tedesco

Monday February 5th

It was kind of weird being with the poets after a great performance, not quite comfortable yet with these people foreign to our school using words to expand minds. It was awkward at least and kind of quiet, everyone not sure whether they want to be there or not. Then we get sheets with exercises on them with a small address by who seems to be the leader of the group, Kyle. We do the exercises uneventfully and practice with the group, still uncomfortable with these outsiders. Then with but 5 minutes left we get to have somewhat of a freestyle with the Mayhem Poets interacting with us, and a sudden interest and comfort strikes everyone and the group is no longer foreign.

Tuesday February 6th

Will the awkwardness return the next day or will we pick up where we left off in the last five minutes of electricity from the last day. We had lost the momentum, but with help from a few kids really getting into it, we had a pretty solid writing session and had fun doing it, the most successful skits being the ones where pop culture references can be made and rather than the conventional school day everything isn't PG. The most fun exercises being the create a superhero and He am hot like, I am deep like and so on.

Wednesday February 7th

Probably the best day up to this point, the entire time was used to perform and have fun rather than just given work sheets we were told what to do. We had pretty much endless possibilities to create writing of our own. The poets had found somewhat of a comfort level with us and out personalities rather than just going to indoctrinate a style into us and get past the time and move on. The laughter came in bunches, all of the exercises read out loud and all were funny or entertaining enough to keep 15-16 year old attention to the front.

Thursday February 8th The most eventful day at the Mayhem Poets, although not having as much energy to follow up the fantastic workshop on Wednesday. The material used by the poets and acting was phenomenal, although not getting the uproar as days past. The final poems brought some spice to the day, mainly "dissing" other people or groups of people as a stereotype including a vegetarian and a white hip hop reference. Although a final poem before the bell rang created some conflict among three students, it was quickly over.

Poet: Molly Darisse (poem performed in talent show)
Could you jump in the air,
and understand the feeling,
of what it's like with no ground beneath?

Could you look down below,
past yourself for once,
and see the people underneath?

Could you walk on your own,
get off your high horse,
and survive on the battle grounds?

Could you live in the shoes,
of the average guy,
and take what comes around?

Journal entry: Rebecca Gooch 10th Grade

During the Mayhem Poet workshop, the Mayhem Poets taught us many different ways to write poems. We were asked to write love poems about nonliving objects, write poems about a superhero that you want to be, and write a poem about the life of a random object. During the workshop they also perform and teach us how to write in different ways. At the beginning of the workshop yesterday, the Mayhem Poets performed a List Poem. The Mayhem Poet's List Poem was about race and different nationalities. All of the Mayhem Poets performed together and blended their performance together to make one. The Mayhem Poets also included us in their performances. For one exercise, they took two kids from our class to do a skit with the Mayhem Poets. The Mayhem poets are also very good at making everyone feel welcome. For example, before someone performs the Mayhem poets get the audience to chant the person's name or say something so the performer feels welcome and comfortable to perform.

From: Elise Foxall

I am Sam Foxall's mom and a MS English teacher at the Richmond school in Hanover. I have to tell you that this morning on the way to school Sam mentioned that the poetry workshop he's involved in at school is the best thing that has happened to him at Mascoma this year. (This is his first year in the district). Thanks for making that happen.

Jeannie Valkevich, Dartmouth student intern

The Mayhem Poets provided a refreshing alternative learning experience for the students of Mascoma Valley Regional High School this week.

The opening performance on Monday grabbed the attention of the student body. Watching the poets have fun and be silly with their verse helped some students get over their "too cool for poetry" syndrome, and no doubt contributed to the popularity of the following workshops throughout the week.

During the few workshops I observed, I noticed students excited about participating in ways I have not seen with their usual school work. The poets provided a wonderful creative outlet for students throughout the week, and as they left the library on Thursday afternoon, I heard a student comment, "those guys were the coolest people I have met in my whole life" (not kidding).

Overall, the Mayhem Poets put on a wonderful program that greatly benefited those who participated.

Poet: Mario Gould
Martin Luther King Had a Dream

He had a dream
A dream of freedom from civil unrest
Lifting the weight from the black man's chest.

He had a dream,
A dream of beauty in black and white,
A society with out the need to fight.

He had a dream,
Of climbing that oversized mountain,
Two races and one water fountain.

He had a dream,
Black and white would become one,
But a difference in race,
Brought fear to every face.
A shot from the other side,
Martin Luther Kind died.
An Influence to us all,
He lies in harmony, at rest.
Martain Luther King, a proud man,
Had a dream.

Workshop for Writers with Jerry Quickley

Through the generosity of Dartmouth Outreach, Experiencing the Arts is pleased to have, well-known and well-regarded performance poet, Jerry Quickley available to lead a workshop for writers in the afternoon of Jan. 16. Presented in conjunction with Dartmouth's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

His workshop includes time for sharing work and discussing writing about issues such as war, classism, racism, sexism and homophobia. This session might dovetail nicely with classes choosing to participate with the Mayhem Poets Slam Poetry residency (February 5-8).

"About Jerry Quickley: One of the most well-known and well-regarded performance poets in the United States, Jerry has performed on the PBS documentary series Senior Year and been commissioned to develop a one-man show with the Mark Taper Forum. He is the host of the popular Pacifica Radio Network show, Beneath the Surface on KPFK 90.7 fm in Los Angeles, and is frequently asked to contribute to a variety of books and publications, including the just released Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop, and the Voice of a New Generation and Short Fuse.

Jerry has just returned from his second visit to Iraq where he spent several weeks at the Palestine Hotel, doing independent reporting of the real deal and shooting a documentary about the Iraq conflict and war from a hip hop perspective called B-Boy in Baghdad. He also took hundreds of photos that have proven to be emotionally arresting for their unflinching portrayal of War, The Occupation, and Life in Iraq.

Jerry is from NYC, and lives in Los Angeles. He defines new boundaries in oral traditions. His work is at once both raw and precise, with a skill and broad resonance that goes the distance from Rodin to Rucker Park. Jerry is also a three-time Los Angeles Poetry Grand Slam winner, and a repeat finalist at the National Poetry Slam."

Local Texture Contest Awards

1st Prize
Medley: Barrages of Thought/the Rains Blues,
Poem by, Michael J. Benham

2nd Prize
Milkweeds (above left), Digital Photograph, by, Catherine Labrecque

3rd Prize
Goat (above right), Pencil Drawing, by, Melinda Warren

Honorable Mentions:
Moose Color Pencil Drawing, by, Amber Harris
Well Beaten Path, Poem by, Scott Morse
The New Kid, Story by, Dan King
Friend or Foe, Poem by, Jennifer Aldrich
Light, Poem by, Jessica Maynard
Canaan Landmark, Drawing by Sara Carter
Cassiopeia, Poem by, Michael J. Benham
Michelle, Poem by, Amanda Brown
Digital Photograph by, Catherine Labrecque

Bloodgem, Please identify yourself for three honorable mentions! Lost and Alone, Mistress of the Dark, and Watch the Rain, Poems by, Bloodgem

1st Prize
Medley: Barrages of Thought/the Rains Blues
Poem by, Michael J. Benham

the dark shrouds upon my eyes are falling
but i am not falling
the rain is falling
heavy bullets of pure life
beautiful isn't it?
that such amazing things
come with such
a substantial rage
or with
such a
meditative patter
while in this darkness
the artificial light hovers in beams
not bullets
across the selectively illuminated chamber
to my settle
i am falling from my clouded perceptions
with a heavy thud
like a bag of rain

Honorable Mention

The Well Beaten Path, Poem by, Scott Morse

The well beaten path
Blanketed by the pine needles
Thrown away by the trees

Honorable Mention

Light, Poem by Jessica Maynard

Light is everywhere
Even in the darkest hour
There's a certain posing power.
It shines throughout and glows within
Prettiness and without sin.
Happiness in its true form
Although it is so norm.
The light pierces the darkness
No more and no less.

Honorable Mention

Cassiopeia, Poem by, Michael J. Benham

The cratered scape of her mistress and her dusty, desolate plains, in bright light, ghostly,
greys and whites, stars above, this rock, this piece of God, it is no place for a bear, for it
bares no trees, no water, just,





Honorable Mention: The New Kid, Story by, Dan King

I awoke to the alarm clock's buzzing in an annoying way. I fall out of my chair when I reached to shut it off. I cursed to myself realizing I had fallen asleep at my computer again. This habit has caused some serious bruising on my shoulder. Walking over to my alarm clock, I slammed my foot against the side of my bed. Letting out a yelp of pain, I whimpered silently.
"You OK in there Johnny?" My younger brother asked from behind my closed door.
"Yea, I'm fine." I replied.
I walked to the bathroom in my boxers with a towel draped over my shoulder. I heard snickering from behind me so I turned around to see my sister's friend standing there with her head out the door. My face grew beet red. I had forgotten my sister had company.
"Nice bod." She said smiling.
"U....um, thanks." I stammered.
"Put some cloths on!" My sister snapped as she came up the stairs.
Instead of arguing, I walked into the bathroom and shut the door. I could hear my sister and her friend laughing about some boy. Were they talking about me?...... Nah. I turned on the shower and hopped in. As the water hit my face, I started to think how the first day at Mascoma Valley Regional High School was going to go. The water started to get cold but I didn't care. I did care about the constant banging on the bathroom door. "Hold your horses, I'm getting out!" I snapped.
I wrapped the towel around my waist. Opening the door, I expected to see my sister - but it wasn't her, it was her friend. I tried to smile but I couldn't. I was extremely embarrassed. I ran to my bedroom and slammed the door. Damn! No privacy! Getting dressed, I noticed that my bag was lying on the floor open. I zipped it shut and ran down stairs. "John," my mother said, "behave in school today." "Yes mother dearest." I responded. Before she could respond to my sarcasm, my little brother screamed, "Bus!" I was out the door and walked towards the bus. As I got on, I noticed a lot of people talking and laughing. I found the only empty seat left and plopped myself in it. Looking out the window, I mapped out the way to school. I felt the weight of someone sitting down, but we hadn't stopped which meant that someone had moved. I turned to face the person. It was a boy about my age with light blond hair which was close to white with hazel eyes that mesmerized me. "Hi, I'm Atticus." He said smiling. "And you are?" "John." I said staring. We sat there staring at each other, his eyes held me there not allowing me to be released. I noticed that he was smiling. If it was anyone else, I would have found it creepy, but his smile was kind and welcomed. I felt my mouth form a smile in response to his. My mask has been cracked, damn, I thought. "Hi freak, its rude to stare." A female voice said in front of us. He sat down and began to talk. I learned that he had just moved here with his mother. He was into a lot of the things I was; hanging out, reading, etc.. To my shock, he pulled out Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
"I'm reading the same thing." I said. "I love J.K. Rowling." "I do too." Atticus said smiling. We couldn't go any further in our conversation, because we pulled up to the school and I needed to get ready. I was about to step into my living breathing hell. I just hoped Atticus would be alright. To be continued.

Honorable Mention

Friend or Foe, Poem by, Jennifer Aldrich

You and I will differ,
As long as water, in cold air, grows stiffer.

Like birds of a feather,
You and I were together.

Just as hot is to cold-
Just as good is to evil-

What water is to a fish,
Oh, don't you just wish!

You said you were a friend,
Well this is the end!

Just as hot is to cold-
Just as good is to evil-

Honorable Mention

Michelle, Ballad by, Amanda Brown

The night was dark and cold,
the Fall breeze blowing her brunette hair.
2 A.M., a dead battery
nothing but a dead battery.

"What use is this?
No signal, no tone, no light."
Stumbling in the dark... U.V.M. in sight.
U.V.M. in sight.

"Here, use mine... It's dark out here
make your call..."
"I'm not that far I swear."
"Not that far I swear."

"I was just at the bar...
A friend is picking me up."
Why are you convincing yourse

It's been a week
and there's been no report
they say she's gone.
Please say she's not gone.

A swimming hole
near the top of a cliff.
Her body was found... But not alive.
Please say she's alive...

Figure Drawing

For Art Club each week, Experiencing the Arts is sponsoring a residency with Figure Drawing instructor Dierdre Dennis (shown in orange below). The two hour workshops started October 7th and will continue to Thanksgiving. Dierdre's daughter Caitlin (shown in black body suit) is the model for the class.

Experiencing the Arts Director, Christopher Morse says this about the residency. "This has been an extremely successful residency, the Art students were hungry for it; they knew that figure drawing was important for their portfolio, what they didn't know was the energy and focus that it takes. Many students have commented that the two hour sessions fly by. Even though this residency takes place after school, there has been excellent participation. At least a dozen have shown up for the class each session. Dierdre has had excellent organization and runs the students through warm up exercises such as blind contour drawings and gesture sketches, then challenges the students to some longer exercises such as contour drawings emphasizing weight and mass, shading, and longer sustained drawings -- even group drawings including some of the students! Each week she assigns homework and even though the students see it as an extra class, many are pleased to show her their homework at the beginning of the next session. Caitlin is an excellent model -- it is not easy holding poses for ten minutes or longer. It has been a treat to have Figure Drawing at Mascoma, Dierdre Dennis and her daughter Caitlin have made this an excellent program."

Experiencing the Arts 2006/07 Field Trips:

September 29th Hopkins Center, Dartmouth A Midsummer Night's Dream Exp arts, Friedline, MAP
October 5th The Hood Museum of Art Globalization in Ancient Costa Rican Arts and Peruvian Pottery, Exp Arts, Spanish
November 8th Hopkins Center, Dartmouth Inca Son music dance and dress of Peru, Exp Arts, MAP, Spanish
December 7th The Hood Museum of Art Dreaming Their Way: Aboriginal Australian Women Painters, Exp Arts
January (date to be announced) Scholastic Art Awards, Bedford, NH
January 19th Hopkins Center, Dartmouth Bang on a Can All Stars, Raw edgy experimental music, Exp Arts, MAP
January 30th Bedford Mall, Bedford, NH Scholastic Art Awards, Exp Arts, Art 1, Art 2, Portfolio
February 7th Hopkins Center, Dartmouth A Midnight Cry: The Underground Railroad to Freedom, Exp Arts and others
March 6th Hopkins Center, Dartmouth Soweto Gospel Choir, Exp Arts, MAP
March 7th, 14th or 16th, Northern Stage, White River Junction "The Crucible" Exp Arts, Mrs. Grout's morning English classes, Jensvold's Am Litterature
April 3rd Capital Center for the Arts, Concord Macbeth, Exp Arts, Exp Arts, Jensvold's English 10
April 6th Hopkins Center and Hood Museum (double field trip) Pilobus dance and "Thin Ice: Climate and Change and the Inuit Sense of Weather" and "Our Land:
Contemporary Art from the Arctic."
April 9th through April 14th Environment and Arts Week & Festival
April 30th Capital Center for the Arts, Concord The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial All School Field Trip!!!
May 3rd through April 14th Environment and Arts Week follow up - Lebanon Airport and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory

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