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School Touring Program Expands to Include Jazz and Chamber Music

November 13, 2008

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    November 13, 2008
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    Opera Carolina News

School Touring Program Expands to Include Jazz and Chamber Music

Raleigh, N.C. - Jazz and chamber music will be part of the North Carolina Arts Council's cARTwheels touring program for elementary school children in the state next year.

In its third season, cARTwheels has expanded to include two new disciplines-bringing the number of professional touring companies participating in the project up to nine. Last year, seven companies toured 46 counties reaching close to 48,000 children.

The program provides an opportunity for children to experience the excitement of a live performance. Condensed to 50 minutes, the performances are professionally-staged and free for participating schools through funding provided by the N.C. Legislature. cARTwheels also offers educational materials demonstrating the connection between the performance and schoolwork.

"Curriculum-based materials provided to teachers allow us to offer a well rounded and evolving arts experience for children," said Mary B. Regan, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council. "Plus, the performances are magical for so many students who have never before seen live performance with costumes, sets, dancers, musicians or actors."

Doug Singleton, executive director of the N.C. Dance Theatre based in Charlotte, says for some students, the cARTwheels performance is their introduction to the arts. "We create lifelong arts patrons," says Singleton, who has been a part of the program since the beginning. Singleton says he's told often by older North Carolinians about their initial encounter with the arts when the N.C. Symphony came to their school gym or a local concert hall. "They refer back to their first experience with the N.C. Symphony and they tell me how moving that was for them." The N.C. Symphony started giving their education concerts in 1946 and still performs for elementary students across the state.

The excitement of the cARTwheels goes both ways-the children and the artists get a big kick out of it.

"I'm honored to have the chance to participate in cARTwheels this season," said John Brown, founder of the John Brown Jazz Orchestra of Durham. "Jazz is so deeply rooted in our musical heritage and it'll be fun to share jazz's influence on funk and hip-hop with these young audiences."

Chamber music and dance will be combined in a dynamic program of Latin music, dance and art when the Keowee Chamber Music of Asheville and Cuarteto la Catrina of Hickory partner to perform Fandango, Tango, Huapango.

"We've created a chamber music performance to energize, inspire and bring the beauty of live acoustic music to children. This innovative program, a collaboration between Anglo and Latino artists, celebrates North Carolina's diversity," said Kate Steinbeck, flutist and artistic director of Keowee Chamber Music. "This banda latina, our dynamic ensemble of seven musicians and two dancers, will bring sounds and colors of Latin America to students and create an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for them."

Through a competitive process the following companies have been selected to tour in the 2009 season:

African American Dance Ensemble, Durham

Asheville Lyric Opera, Asheville

Carolina Ballet, Raleigh

The John Brown Jazz Orchestra, Durham

Keowee Chamber Music and Cuarteto la Catrina, Asheville and Hickory

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Bahama

North Carolina Dance Theatre, Charlotte

Opera Carolina, Charlotte

Triad Stage, Greensboro

The cARTwheels season begins in January 2009 and continues through the end of the school year. Below is a brief description of the performances scheduled.

2009 cARTwheels Performances:

The Barber of Seville performed by Opera Carolina

This performance in English features the famous music and comic genius of Beaumarchais and Rossini. The story centers around old Dr. Bartolo, who is determined to marry his young ward Rosina and capture her dowry. His plans are thwarted by the clever Figaro, the barber of Seville, and the handsome Count Almaviva, who wins the girl's heart in the end.

Blackbeard performed by Triad Stage

From England to the Caribbean to the Carolina Coast, Edward Teach forged a blazing career as the most dreaded pirate of all time. North Carolina's infamous adopted son was a daring blend of terror and gallantry. His high sea adventures, portside romances and buried treasure are the stuff of legend. With tunes and tales, Blackbeard uncovers the mostly true and totally thrilling tale of the one pirate that still haunts North Carolina.

The Elixir of Love performed by Asheville Lyric Opera

Adina, a wealthy landowner, is torn between the professed loves of a young villager named Nemorino and confident army Sergeant Belcore. Dr. Dulcamara, a quirky traveling salesman, comes to town selling his latest gimmicks, including a fake love potion. A whirlwind of funny tactics by witty Adina and her friend Giannetta, lovesick Nemorino, ego-confident Belcore, and a virtuously false Dr. Dulcamara resolves in a jubilant ending of this famous comedy of errors and true love.

Fandango, Tango, Huapango performed by Keowee Chamber Music and Cuarteto la Catrina

This program highlights the vibrancy of Latin music, art, dance, and culture in the beauty and transparent intimacy of a chamber setting. Accompanied by dancers and a background of colorful Latin American art, the works performed span the 18th to the 21st century and include Boccherini's Fandango for guitar and string quartet, music of Argentineans Alberto Ginastera and Astor Piazolla, and Mexican composers José Pablo Moncayo and Silvestre Revueltas.

Festival Olé performed by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

The rhythms and emotions of flamenco come alive through whirling colorful ruffled dresses, waving fans, long fringed shawls (mantones), and classic men's vests (chaleco) all set among an explosion of clicking castanets, the strumming of guitars and dancers keeping the beat with their special flamenco shoes and rhythmic hand clapping. The rich and powerful art of traditional flamenco with its energetic dance reveals a vision of life full of pride, passion, honor and love.

See the Rhythm! Hear the Movement! performed by the African American Dance Ensemble

African drummers, dancers, singers and poets excite the senses with their visual rhythms and voluminous movements. The production includes two new acclaimed dances. BlueGrass / BrownEarth, by Chuck Davis, explores the connection between the traditional African instrument, the akonting from Senegal West Africa, and the traditional American banjo. New Lamban, by associate artistic director Stafford C. Berry, Jr., brings a contemporary approach to a traditional 12th century dance.

Swan Lake performed by Carolina Ballet

Inspired by the story and illustrations of Lisbeth Zwerger, the award winning Viennese children's book author and illustrator, this spectacular production by Robert Weiss is an abbreviated Act II and Act IV from one of the most popular story ballets of all time. Twenty-one dancers tell the story of a beautiful queen cursed by an evil sorcerer to live as a swan until she can find true love.

A Tour of Jazz performed by the John Brown Jazz Orchestra

This 18-piece big band performance features the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente and North Carolina natives Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. With high-energy Latin jazz, straight-ahead swing tunes, some new arrangements of children's tunes the students will recognize, and a couple of contemporary tunes re-written for the large jazz ensemble thrown into the mix, this concert showcases the versatility and power of the jazz big band and will be a finger-snapping, toe-tapping good time for everyone.

Under Southern Skies performed by North Carolina Dance Theatre

Under Southern Skies celebrates the music and artists of the South and reflects on the ever-changing landscape of the region. Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux's Shindig, is a rollicking ballet set to traditional bluegrass music performed live by the Greasy Beans. Dwight Rhoden's Grinnin' in Your Face, set to the music of traditional blues master Son House, is a captivating, up-tempo pas de deux. Mark Diamond's City South, with music by the Grammy®-award-winning group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, is inspired by young people and their urban lifestyles in an ever-growing southern city.

Credit: AP Online CaptionBy North Carolina Arts Council, Press Release