WMU News

More than 1,000 talented high school artists come to campus

May 2, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- More than 1,000 of the state's finest young artists will gather Thursday through Saturday, May 8-10, for the 41st annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival at Western Michigan University. 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.

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 19th 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; Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo; National City Bank; Irving S. Gilmore Foundation; Psi Iota Xi, Eta Omicron Chapter; Howard Printing; and James & Springgate.

Honorary chairperson of this year's festival is Thomas A. Chandler, senior vice president and chief financial officer for National City Credit Card Services. Chandler has served with the bank for 18 years and, in 1999, relocated to Kalamazoo from Columbus, Ohio. He is an active member of the Kalamazoo community and is involved with several organizations, including United Way, Gryphon Place, Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business and the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.

This year's artist-in-residence is Peter Sparling, artistic director of the Peter Sparling Dance Company of Ann Arbor. Sparling is recognized internationally as a modern dance classicist, master teacher and innovative choreographer. He is a past member of the Martha Graham and Jose Limon Dance Companies. Sparling will bring his entire company of seven members to work with students participating in MYAF, and will conduct a workshop that will integrate the work of creative writing and dance students. This will be the first year that the artist-in-residence for MYAF will be funded by a corporate sponsor, National City Bank.

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 participants' 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 Elizabeth Kerlikowski and Julie Stotz-Ghosh; and film and video, theatre, dance and a workshop conducted by Very Special Arts of Michigan. Rehearsals and performances for band, orchestra, jazz and choir are led by guest conductors. This year's conductors are John E. Williamson, director of bands at Central Michigan University; Donald Schleicher, music director and conductor of the University of Illinois Orchestras and the Quad Symphony Orchestra; Miles Osland, director of jazz studies and professor of saxophone at the University of Kentucky; and Jerry Blackstone, director of choirs and chair of the conducting department at the University of Michigan.

The festival also provides a forum for honoring and recognizing outstanding educators and administrators in the arts.

The teachers and administrators of the year and the organizations that will present awards are: Michigan Art Education Association--Christa Wise, Saugatuck High School; Detroit Area Film and Television--Joe Elliott, Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights; Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association-- Lori Spares, Big Rapids High School, and Frank Gollon, Rochester High School; Michigan Council of Teachers of English--Kent Case, Concord Academy in Petoskey; Michigan Music Teachers Association--Roberta Kraft, Hope College; American String Teachers Association--Judy Palac, Michigan State University; Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association--Al Johnston, Banks Middle School in Walled Lake, and David Reed, Bloomfield Hills Schools; Michigan School Vocal Music Association--Mark Webb, East Grand Rapids High School; Michigan Music Educators Association--Steven M. Waters, Jenison Junior High School; Michigan Dance Council--Deborah Kirkland, Detroit Public Schools and Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School; Very Special Arts of Michigan--Gayle Owens, Detroit Pubic Schools.

ArtServe Michigan is presenting five awards, including two Educator of the Year awards to Suzanne Butler-Lich of East Oakview Elementary School in Grand Rapids and Mark Webb, East Grand Rapids Schools; two Advocate of the Year awards to Madeline Mildonis-Fritz, of Gaylord and Mikel Bresee, College of Creative Studies; and an Administrator of the Year award to Randi L'Hommedieu, Central Michigan University.

Honorees will be acknowledged at 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, at a concert in Miller Auditorium culminating with a performance by the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.

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, May 8 and 9, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 10. The 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 the evening at 10:45 p.m.

Saturday begins with a Piano Master Class at 10 a.m., instructed by Helen Marlais from Grand Valley State University. 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 the All-Michigan Honors Jazz Ensemble, band, choir and orchestra performances and conclude at 4:30 p.m.

Festival passes for all public events are available for $15 at Festival Headquarters in the Dalton Center Lobby. Single event 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 professional arts-in-education organizations and associations. In addition to those listed as honoring teachers of the year, they include: Interlochen Center for the Arts, Michigan Federation of Music Clubs, Education for the Arts and Western Michigan University.

For more information, please contact Gayle Hoogstraten at (269) 342-1400.

A complete list of events follows.

2003 Michigan Youth Arts Festival
Public Performances and Events

Friday, May 9

10 a.m -5 p.m. -- Visual Arts Exhibit, Dalton Center Multi-Media Room

1-2 p.m. -- Theatre Performance, Holland H.S., "She Stoops to Conquer," Shaw Theatre

1-4 p.m. -- Vocal Ensemble Performances, Dalton Center Recital Hall

6:30-6:55 p.m. -- String Ensemble Performance, Miller Auditorium Grand Tier Lobby
Brass Ensemble, York Arena Theatre Courtyard
Woodwind Ensemble, Miller Auditorium Stage

6:55-7 p.m. -- Brass Fanfare, Miller Auditorium

7-9 p.m. -- Gala Concert, Miller Auditorium, featuring Honors Choir, Teacher/Administrator-of-the-Year Recognition, Detroit Metropolitan Youth Symphony with outstanding soloists

9-10:30 p.m. -- Visual Arts Exhibit, Dalton Center Multi-Media Room

9:15-10:15 p.m. Selected Poetry Readings, Theatre Performance, Holland H.S., "She Stoops to Conquer," Shaw Theatre

9:15-10:30 p.m. 2003 Michigan Student Film and Video Festival Showcase, Dalton Lecture Hall

Saturday, May 10

9 a.m.-3 p.m. -- Visual Arts Exhibit, Dalton Center Multi-Media Room

10-11:30 a.m. -- Piano Master Class, Dalton Center Lecture Hall

10:30 a.m.-noon -- Dance Concert, Shaw Theatre

Cass Tech High School Dance Co., Southfield; Dance Arts Academy, Traverse City; Education for the Arts, Kalamazoo; Farmington High School Dance Co.; Harrison Dance Co, Farmington Hills; Martin Luther King Dance Workshop, Detroit; Osborn Dance Ensemble, Detroit; Renaissance Dance Workshop, Detroit; Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy; Southfield Lathrup Dance Academy

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. -- MSBOA and MASTA Collage performance, Dalton Recital Hall

1-2 p.m. -- Theatre Performance, Kimball H.S., "Chicago," Shaw Theatre

1-2:30 p.m. -- 2002 Michigan Student Film & Video Festival Showcase, Dalton Lecture Hall

1:30-3:30 p.m. -- Vocal Soloists, Dalton Center Recital Hall

2:30-4:30 p.m. -- All-Michigan Music Ensembles, Miller Auditorium.
All-Michigan Honors Jazz Ensemble, Band, Choir, & Orchestra

Festival passes for all events are available for $15 at Festival Headquarters in the Dalton Center Lobby. Individual event tickets are available for $5, 30 minutes prior to each event in lobby where the performance is to be held. There is no admission charge to view the Visual Arts Exhibit.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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