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Arts on Tour

Arts on Tour

The College of Southern Idaho Arts on Tour (AOT) program is designed to provide high-quality professional performing arts experiences to the Magic Valley community.

Additionally, AOT strives annually to engage over 2,400 students through a Student Outreach (SO) component. The goal for the SO is to provide a free performing arts experience that ties directly to grade-level-specific Idaho Education Standards. Goals are met by working directly with the Magic Valley Arts Council (MVAC) and Twin Falls School District personnel. Support from grants and community sponsors is also utilized.

The MVAC writes Study Guides for students which are event specific, instructs students on theatre etiquette, and prepares them for the experience. After performances, students are encouraged to write a summary of their experience, which MVAC collects. CSI primarily selects 5th Grade students for SO opportunities as this is when they begin to think about electives for middle and high school.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do we discern the musical creators’ and performers’ expressive intent?

Through use of musical elements and structures, creators and performers provide clues to expressive intent.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

Attending the performance of The World of Musicals were 851 5th Grade students. Of the seven National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) offered in the study guide, the most impactful were:

NCAS: Music, Artistic Process: Responding Anchor Standard MU:Re8.1.5.1.a Demonstrate and explain how the expressive qualities (such as dynamics, tempo, timbre, and articulation) are used in performers and personal interpretations to reflect expressive intent; and NCAS: Theatre, Artistic Process: Creating Anchor Standard TH:Cr.1.1.5.a Identify physical qualities that might reveal a character’s inner traits in the imagined world of a drama/theatre work.

Answering the Essential Questions, a student wrote: “I was surprised to see how light and music changed my emotions. Bright moving lights and quick tempo made me happy. The drama of darkness with deep sound made me feel sad or afraid.” This sentiment spread throughout the majority of the responses.

Other comments include: “I was surprised by how the actors and actresses used their faces and bodies to change their emotions.” “Only a few actors played in every scene, and I was surprised by how quickly they could change their emotions from scene to scene.”

Impact

A unique outcome from The World of Musicals performance was a greater understanding of the unique artistic contributions by musicians, technical teams, and actors to develop and communicate each scene, as expressed by these comments:

“I was surprised to really see how much an actor influences how we understand a scene. My class watched video and then saw the same scene on stage but to me it felt very different. The actors’ body actions and the expressions on their faces made the scene feel different, because I was looking for it, I saw that the emotions really were a skill they were showing, not true feelings.”

“During the performance I understood that music, lighting, and the actors work together to help set the emotions of a scene. I was delighted to see it right before me as the scenes changed from sad, happy and scary. I learned that each scene has a different meaning and the actors express that meaning in their own way.”

“After seeing The World of Musicals at the college, when I watched a movie with my mom that we have seen before, this time I saw the movie differently. I really thought about the things that go into each scene and how those elements worked to make me feel certain ways.”

Reflection

Of the ultimate seven performances, four were sold out and three sold over 90% of capacity. The performances that filled the auditorium to capacity were: Kathy Mattea and Suzy Bogguss, The World of Musicals, Malevo, and Yamato: Drummers of Japan. Performances that filled the room over 90% of capacity were: Chen2Duo, Duplessey and the Violins of the World, and Ray on My Mind.

AOT provided high-quality professional artistic performances for many audience members, 1,673 students, and 103 chaperones through the Student Outreach (SO) program. The SO program was scheduled with Cheng2Duo as a masterclass as 30 for high school and college students studying piano, violin or classical music. The World of Musicals SO engaged 851 5th Grade students and 70 chaperones, while Yamato: Drummers of Japan captivated 792 6th Grade students and 33 chaperones.

What worked best was the incredible talent and professionalism of the CSI Fine Arts Technical Team, event volunteers, and the partnerships between CSI, the Magic Valley Arts Council, Twin Falls School District, other area schools and our dedicated private and business supporters.

To provide a season of this caliber that is so beloved by our community really demonstrates a dedicated team. If someone else were to embark on a similar project, I would recommend early planning, expect the unexpected, and have fun.

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