Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Washington Performing Arts to expand the reach of free summer Gospel and Stepping Camps to students in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties

Brenda Kean Tabor:

Washington, D.C. - Washington Performing Arts is to receive a $50,000 sponsorship from the Purple Line Transit Partners to expand the reach of its tuition-free summer camps to include additional students in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Each year, the camps attract more than 450 students from across the region to study instrumental and vocal music and dance technique, and to further develop their teamwork and leadership skills under a faculty of local artists, teachers, and world renowned guest artists. Culminating performances of Washington Performing Arts camps are made possible by the generous support of Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated.

“We are delighted that Purple Line Transit Partners shares our mission to engage interested, talented students from Prince George's and Montgomery counties and to grow our Summer Camp enrollment from these communities.  Students value the enduring relationships – with the arts, and with each other – that emerge from these immersive arts camps, and in turn they bring their enthusiasm to their schools and communities,” says Washington Performing Arts President and CEO Jenny Bilfield.

Washington Performing Arts has provided a variety of tuition-free performing arts camps in the Washington, D.C. region over the past two decades, including the Children of the Gospel Vocal Workshop and the Summer Steps with Step Afrika! camp.  All boast a high teacher-to-student ratio and small group instruction with faculties of professional teachers, many of whom are active performers. Free breakfast and lunch are served at all Washington Performing Arts camps. Many camp graduates have had the opportunity to perform at the White House, the Kennedy Center, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the National Building Museum, and at other prestigious venues and events. Children of the Gospel Choir graduate Soloman Howard will perform in the upcoming season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and was a featured performer at Washington Performing Arts’ landmark April tribute to singer Marian Anderson at DAR Constitution Hall.  
This summer’s Children of the Gospel Choir Vocal Workshop will be held at Alice Deal Middle School near the Tenleytown-AU Metro Station on the Red Line and runs from
July 14 to July 24. It is open to students entering grades four through twelve and provides young performers with the tools to develop their vocal range and technique while expanding their knowledge of vocal health, songwriting and choral conducting. Graduates leave having spent two weeks experiencing the joy of singing and developing skills in stage presence, leadership, and team-building. Camp also bolsters students’ self-confidence in ways that will serve them throughout their lives. The workshop is directed by Michele Fowlin, Music Director of Washington Performing Arts’ Children of the Gospel Choir, and a faculty of vocal music and education professionals from across the region. A culminating performance takes place on Sunday, July 27 at 2 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street N.W., in Washington, D.C.     

Taught by members of the D.C.-based professional stepping troupe Step Afrika!, the Summer Steps with Step Afrika! camp will be held from August 4 through August 8 at Anacostia High School on 16th Street in southeast Washington and is open to students entering grades four through twelve. A shuttle bus will be provided for students commuting to camp via the Anacostia Metro station on the Green Line. Campers will enjoy the rigors and benefits of exercise while also learning some cool steps and the value of teamwork, commitment, and discipline. A culminating performance takes place on Sunday, August 10 at 2 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street N.W., in Washington, D.C.

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