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Caldwell Fine Arts

Caldwell Fine Arts presents Educational Outreach programs in conjunction with our evening concert series. We served 6,127 students through 13 diverse education programs last year. The four programs funded by the Idaho Commission on the Arts were the Boise Cello Collective special needs/sensory-friendly concert, ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro, the Golden Dragon Acrobats in Cirque Ziva, and gyspy jazz ensemble The New Hot Club of America.

Our programs are offered to schools in a “menu” form that allows them to select what is most relevant for their school. Many programs, such as the Nutcracker Ballet and theatre performances, are presented in Jewett Auditorium on The College of Idaho campus so children can get a concert hall experience. We also take programs such as masterclasses or lecture/demonstrations to individual classrooms or whole schools.

Because of the socioeconomic disadvantage of most of the schools we serve, our programs represent the only live arts exposure many children in our area receive. We believe our programs not only help meet arts standards, but inspire children as they learn to appreciate other cultures, develop a desire to participate in the arts, and recognize and seek for excellence in their own lives.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do we judge the quality of musical works and performances?

We enjoyed allowing students to make their own grading rubric for the performance they saw. Students loved giving adults a grade, and it helped them become more attentive and observant audience members.

Jake Shimabukuro, Boise Cello Collective, New Hot Club of America:

Essential Question: How do we judge the quality of musical work(s) and performance(s)?
MU:Re9.1.4a Evaluate musical works and performances, applying established criteria, and explain appropriateness to the context.
MU:Re9.1.8a Apply appropriate personally developed criteria to evaluate musical works or performances.

Essential Question: How do the other arts, other disciplines, contexts, and daily life inform creating, performing, and responding to music?
MU:Cn11.1.4a – MU:Cn11.1.8a Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life.

Cirque Ziva:

Essential Question: How are the theatre artist’s processes and the audience’s perspectives impacted by analysis and synthesis?
TH:Re9.1.5a. Develop and implement a plan to evaluate drama/theatre work.
TH:Re9.1.7a. Explain preferences, using supporting evidence and criteria to evaluate drama/theatre work.

How do we discern the musical creators’ and performers’ expressive intent?
TH:Re8.1.5b. Explain responses to characters based on cultural perspectives when participating in or observing drama/theatre work.
TH:Re8.1.5a. Justify responses based on personal experiences when participating in or observing a drama/theatre work.

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

Jake Shimabukuro: One 4th grade girl created her grading scale that measured 1. The feelings 2. The talent 3. The difference in loud and soft. She graded all these with an A. Another 2nd grade boy responded, “It was the best thing I heard in my life!” A middle school girl commented, “This made me want to practice ukulele more.”

Boise Cello Collective: This program was an amazing concert and instrument petting zoo for the special needs community. Presenter measured a high level of engagement through observation, conversation, and video.

Cirque Ziva: A fourth grader responded to “How is a professional musician like a professional basketball player?” by saying, “They all have to work together to accomplish a goal.” Another observed, “They both have to practice.” One student created a rubric of important factors in a performance including respect, trust, and brave. He gave brave the grade of an infinity symbol. Another observed: “It was awesome. The guy on chairs was cool. It was so beautifly (beautiful) I almost cry.”

The New Hot Club of America: Students at Caldwell High School enjoyed the masterclass and concert. An 10th grade boy responded: “It was a very fun and exciting concert!” He made up a grading rubric with the criteria of creativeness, energy, and sound quality, all rated with an A.

Impact

We were delighted with the enjoyment and learning the children expressed, both on reflection forms and through our observations and conversions. One of my favorite moments was during our special needs concert. A high-school age student from a Special Ed classroom came to hear Boise Cello Collective. He enjoyed trying the instruments before the concert. As the concert began, he sat on the edge of his chair and began enthusiastically conducting the music with both arms. He was having such a moment! I was so glad we created a space where it was safe for him to feel the music however he wanted to, and to enjoy it completely and deeply.

Another favorite moment was during the amazing concert that superstar ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro presented. After wowing the students with his rock-star virtuoso style of playing of the uke, he talked about the power of music. He also told a little about himself and and shared with students that he had never used drugs. He said that being drug-free was the reason behind his achievements, and asked them to pledge to never touch drugs. He had them raise their hands to show their pledge. It was a moving and powerful moment. CFA outreach programs teach students about the arts, but are also powerful forces for good in the lives of students.

Reflection

The program went very well this season, and we were delighted with the caliber of performers we engaged for the season. Their education programs were truly fantastic ones that the kids won’t forget.

It worked well to offer some programs in Jewett Auditorium and some in the individual schools. Next year, we plan to offer even more in-school programs to meet that demand so schools have more choice.

Our sensory-friendly/special needs concert was a wonderful event, and the students enjoyed the performance and musical instrument “petting zoo” beforehand. Next year, we are booking a bluegrass band with people familiar with special needs students so the atmosphere can be even more fun, upbeat, and memorable. Kids will make an instrument before the concert, so they can participate even more fully. We will also hold the event in the smaller Langroise Theatre, which is more appropriate for this event. I would highly recommend other arts organization adding a program like this. It was so memorable!

Miss Billquist, a 1st grade teacher from Van Buren Elementary said, “The kids loved the acrobats. As a teacher, this was my favorite fine arts trip. It was engaging for both me and the students. The kids had a lot of positive things to say about it. It also provided them a rich new experience.” Those rich experiences are what we are all about! We are so grateful to be able to present these programs to our community.

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