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Arts on Tour at College of Southern Idaho

Arts on Tour

A cornerstone of CSI’s mission statement is to provide cultural opportunities for the community. To that end, the Arts on Tour performing arts series was created in 1988. This series, which brings international touring performing artists to the Magic Valley, has a long history of artistic excellence. In partnership with the Magic Valley Arts Council and school districts, Arts on Tour brings these performers to local students free of charge to them and their schools. During the 2021-22 Season, Arts on Tour brought three of the eight performing artists to K-12 students for the following outreaches that addressed the National Core Arts Standards.

-A masterclass on shadow dancing and backlit screens with high school theater students
-A zoom lecture demo on guitar practice/fingering skills to middle school and high school guitar students by Trey Hensley
-An outreach performance and discussion of music career mentorship by The Bridge & Wolak duo for high school band students

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do individuals choose music to experience?

Through the performances, masterclasses, and lecture demos along with the study guide materials on the particular mediums they would be watching, the students experienced how these artists chose to express music in a way that was personal to them. They learned that this could be done through dynamics, tempo, timber, articulation, and expressive qualities. Following the music-based outreaches, the students applied what they had learned to their own musicianship, be it guitar or band, and reflected/responded on the essential questions during discussions in their classrooms and with their music teachers.

For the Catapult Master Class, the students also responded to their essential question – What happens when Theater artists use their imaginations and/or learned Theater skills while engaging in creative exploration and inquiry. They explored the impact of technology on design choices in a drama/Theater work through the use of shadow dancing and backlit screens.

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

The students in the Catapult master class were observed and interviewed by the CSI Theater Instructor and their high school theater teachers during and after the class. They noted the students’ demonstrated knowledge of brand-new skills that nobody else in the area knew that could be used for their productions. Both theater teachers evaluated the students’ ability to understand the concepts behind shadow dancing from a back-lit screen and their ability to demonstrate some basic shapes.

The students in the Trey Hensley master class were observed and interviewed by the CSI Guitar Program Instructor during and after the class. He noted the students were enthusiastic to incorporate the practice and fingering skills they had learned in the master class, and many who attended the outreach expressed interest in incorporating bluegrass picking into their guitar repertoire.

A sampling of 12 band students were asked to write essays over the music and outreach topics of Bridge & Wolak Duo. The student work from the Bridge & Wolak Duo went into a rubric from 1-4, with 4 being the highest score. Their teachers evaluated their work. The students demonstrated a strong understanding of the materials presented the average score being 3.36

Impact

One of my favorite moments this year was seeing the dedication of the Canyon Ridge HS Theater Teacher in bringing the students to the Catapult outreach. This was the first outreach and was in the height of the pandemic, so the students had to come on their own time after school. This teacher walked them over to the outreach from the high school like a mama duck. The Catapult artists were so wonderful as they tried to balance keeping their artists safe from the virus while providing an excellent outreach program to the students in the height of a pandemic.

After the Bridge & Wolak Duo outreach, one student stayed to talk more at length about the music mentorship the artists were engaging in. She commented about how her friends had not gone to the outreach, but that she came by herself (it was an after school outreach) because she wants a career in music. The artists were so encouraging and gave her an additional half an hour of their time to discuss the importance of having a mentor, and especially one who could talk about the BUSINESS of being a professional musician with her. She was energized by the conversation, and we gave her free tickets for her and her family to see the show that night.

Reflection

This was a tough year for outreaches because of the pandemic. We were not able to bring in 925 students to the venue to see large shows as we had intended and were also unable to bring our artists into the schools. In addition, our two largest shows/outreaches were cancelled due to the Omicron variant. We are proud of how we worked through these challenges by providing outreaches to smaller groups after school in our venue or by zoom. The students who did get to take part were enthusiastic and dedicated to their young crafts, and we look forward to picking the momentum back up in the next season.

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