Monday, April 6, 2009

NCSSM Fine Arts Weekend and Funding

Here at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, we are just finishing up our annual Fine Arts Weekend that is made possible by generous grants from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, The Embarq Corporation, and others. The event was a marvelous success on many levels.

On Saturday, renown jazz vibist, Jon Metzger ( presented a masterclass to area jazz students that was really enlightening and fun. Separk Music of Winston Salem was on hand with Jon's new method book and a variety of other jazz materials for the student to peruse while hey were there. Jon then gave a magnificent performance at NCSSM that evening along with his quartet which included Ed Paolantonio of UNC Jazz on keys, John Brown of Duke University on Bass, and Thomas Taylor of NC Central University on drums. They were simply magnificent. All that attended really had a wonderful musical treat on Saturday night. Jon's musical virtuosity and generous spirit shown through and everyone felt so good about the day. As part of the performance, the NCSSM Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Kathy Berberian performed with the quartet on two of the numbers. The results were really stunning and beautiful. The kids that participated in the master-class were invited on stage as well to perform with the band. It was a great night all around.

On Sunday, there were two wonderful performances at the school. First, the Dance Ensemble hosted a Community Dance Concert where dance groups from around the Triangle were invited to perform as part of a larger concert. It was really great. The artistry that was demonstrated was simply stunning. Kathy Berberian has really brought the NCSSM program to a new level and the dance community is certainly thriving at NCSSM as a result.

After the Dance Recital, the NCSSM Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Phillip Riggs, performed at nearby restaurant, The Broad Street Cafe. The place was jammed on a Sunday afternoon for this performance and, again, the kids were terrific! All that attended had a great time, heard great music, and had a great meal. What more could you ask for?

On Monday evening, the Western Carolina Catamount Singers and Electronic Music Ensemble will be performed at the school and that performance was wonderful as well. The group did a variety of Motown classics and the audience really had a great time. Both the singers and instrumentalists were outstanding. It truly was a wonderful weekend of the Fine Arts at NCSSM.

All of these wonderful events are an important part of the overall Fine Arts Program at NCSSM and provide a wonderful opportunity for the school to open its doors to the greater Durham community. All of these events are presented free of change and we encourage families to bring their kids to these events to get them interested in the fine arts at a young age. This wonderful weekend is what arts education is all about. It isn't about ticket sales. It isn't about snobbery. It's not about knowing more than the next guy. Arts education is all about expression. We learn how to feel when we participate in the arts. The performers are able to express and feel regardless of their experience or age. The audience is given the opportunity to express and feel as well, again, regardless of their knowledge, background or age. The arts unifies us. The arts express our humanity. What better place to learn this than at the School of Science and Math?

We, at NCSSM, are deeply indebted to the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Embarq Corporation, Kiwanis of Durham, Conn-Selmer Corperation, Musser Mallets, and Separk Music of Winston Salem for their contributions to this event. In these unstable economic times, no one can take financial contributions lightly. These organizations understand the importance of the arts in the lives of students and the community and have stepped up financially to allow us to bring these events to the public for free. We so appreciate their contribution and support.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend of the arts at NCSSM and so many folks contributed to the success of the event. All that participated, from performers, to audience members, tech workers, choreographers, support staff, and others, come away from the weekend a little bit richer. Many thanks to all.

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