Youth Arts Festival teams with Gilmore
May 2, 2002
KALAMAZOO--The Michigan Youth Arts Festival at Western Michigan University has joined forces with the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival to bring one of the world's rising young pianists to campus as the festival's artist-in-residence.
Kirill Gerstein, one of two recipients of the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award, will perform during the youth festival's opening ceremony on Thursday, May 9, and will conduct a master class the following morning. Gerstein also will lead an informal workshop session for student participants to answer questions about their future careers.
Those and many more activities are on tap May 9-11 when more than 1,000 of the state's finest young artists gather for the 40th annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival on the WMU campus. The festival honors Michigan high school students gifted in the areas of dance, drama, instrumental and vocal music, visual arts, creative writing, and film/video.
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Unique to the state of Michigan, the festival began in 1963 as simple talent screening of young musicians. Today, it is a comprehensive arts spectacular, culminating a nine-month search for the finest artistic talent in Michigan high schools. More than 60,000 students across the state become involved in the adjudication process that results in more than 1,000 students being invited to participate in the annual three-day festival.
This is the 18th year WMU has served as host to the event, which is sponsored in part through funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs; Western Michigan University; Bank One of Michigan; Psi Iota Xi, Eta Omicron Chapter; Howard Printing; Siegfried Crandall Vos & Lewis; Jays Foods; D & W Food Centers; and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Michigan.
Gerstein's performance, master class and workshop are sure to be festival highlights. Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Gerstein began his music studies at age 3. At the age of 11, he won first prize in the International Bach Competition in Poland then made his orchestral debut with the Opole Philharmonic at age 12. Since then, he has taken several top prizes in other competitions, the most recent being first prize at the 10th International Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition 2001 in Tel Aviv.
Honorary chairman for this year's festival is Dr. William Anderson director of the new Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries. Appointed by Gov. John Engler in August
2001, he recently retired from a 33-year career in higher education, including 21 years as a college president at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Ill., and West Shore Community College, located between Ludington and Manistee, Mich.
"Arts implant a spirit and enrich the human soul," Anderson says. "Broad cultural interest keeps life interesting, helps us be more discerning and builds a capacity for openness and receptivity for differences of all kinds."
The outstanding students attending the festival will share their talents with their peers and the public through performances and exhibitions. However, a large part of the participant's experience while at the festival includes educational workshops and clinics offered by professional artists.
The workshops include visual arts, taught this year by instructors from the Detroit Center for Creative Studies; creative writing, taught by John Rybicki and Peter Marcus; and film and video, theatre, dance, and a workshop conducted by VSA arts of Michigan. Rehearsals and performances for band, orchestra, jazz and choir are led by guest conductors. This year's conductors are Dennis Glocke, director of concert bands at Pennsylvania State University; Franz Krager, associate professor of conducting and director of orchestras at the University of Houston; James Riggs, an instructor of saxophone and director of the Two O'Clock Lab Band at the University of North Texas; and Paul Oakley, minister of music and organist for Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The festival also provides a forum for honoring and recognizing 17 outstanding educators and administrators in the arts. Those to be honored as "Teacher of the Year" and the organizations that will present awards are: Michign Art Education Association--Sally Allen, Saginaw Public Schools, and Jean Lash, Onsted High School; American String Teachers Association--Rosemary Malocsay, of Traverse City; Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association--Amy West, West Bloomfield High School, and Marlo Van Peursem, Holland Christian High School.
Michigan Music Teachers Association--Jill Christian, of Kalamazoo; Michigan Council of Teachers of English--Richard Porritt, Clarkston High School; Michigan School Vocal Music Association--Gregory Cleveland, Walled Lake Western High School; Detroit Area Film and Television--Fred Attebury, retiree of Wayne State University; Very Special Arts of Michigan--Deborah Durnaczyk, Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center, and George Armstrong, Petoskey High School; Michigan Dance Council--Susan Harrigan, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy; Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association--Robert Ambrose, of Bloomfield Hills, and Peter DeLille, Caledonia High School; Michigan Music Educators Association--Norma Freeman, Saline High School.
ArtServe Michigan is presenting five awards, including the Educator of the Year award to Mary Miller, Coopersville Junior High School; Advocate of the Year award to Ana Cardona, Michigan Dept. of Education; School Board of the Year award to Ann Arbor Public Schools; and two Creative Ticket Schools of Distinction Awards to Detroit High School for the Fine & Performing Arts and Abbott Middle School, West Bloomfield.
Honorees will be acknowledged at 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, at a concert in Miller Auditorium culminating with a performance by the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra.
A total of 112 award-winning visual arts works will be on display along with 30 works selected from Very Special Arts of Michigan in the Multi-Media Room of the Dalton Center. The exhibition will be open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. This exhibit includes the 30 pieces in the Governor's Traveling Show and the top 18 pieces that are selected for special recognition.
Public performance events begin on Friday at l p.m. and include theatre productions, band, orchestra and choral performances, poetry readings, and a film/video showcase that concludes at 11:30 p.m.
Saturday begins with a piano master class at 10 a.m., instructed by Gerstein, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival Young Artist. Performances by several dance companies, instrumental and vocal ensembles, and a film/video showcase are scheduled throughout the day. A grand finale will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Miller Auditorium with a performance by the All-Michigan Honors Jazz Ensemble, plus band, choir, and orchestra performances that conclude at 4:30 p.m.
Festival passes good for all public events are available for $15 at festival headquarters in the Dalton Center Lobby. Single events tickets are $5 and will be on sale 30 minutes prior to each event in the lobby where the performance takes place. There is no admission charge to view the Visual Arts Exhibit.
The festival is governed by a board consisting of representatives from the Michigan Department of Education and professional arts-in-education organizations and associations. In addition to those listed as honoring teachers of the year, they include the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Michigan Federation of Music Clubs, Education for the Arts and Western Michigan University.
For more information, please contact the WMU College of Fine Arts at (269) 387-4185.
Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, email@example.com
Schedule of Performances and Events