(MACON) Thousands of Central Georgia elementary students are discovering the performing arts, thanks to GrandKids, an arts education program offered by The Grand Opera House and Mercer University.
Students at participating schools visit The Grand three times during the academic year for programs of varying art forms, including music, dance and theatre performances. Prior to each visit, their teacher shows a preparatory videotaped workshop, which helps move the arts performance beyond entertainment to a vivid learning experience. After viewing the taped workshop, students receive a GrandKids Gazette, which uses articles, puzzles and games to offer additional insight into the performance, which they attend thereafter.
GrandKids is an effort to bring professional performing arts into an educational context, building an appreciation and understanding of the value of art in children. Since its inception in 1996, more than 30,000 students have participated in the program. In 2003-2004, GrandKids will serve more than 6,500 third, fourth and fifth grade students from six Central Georgia counties, including public and private schools.
This year's offerings consist of eight performances. This fall, students experienced the antics of showman Tomás Kubínek and the energy and beauty of Ballet Gran Folklorico de Mexico.
The spring series includes music, dance and drama:
- Miss Nelson is Missing, Joan Cushing's musical adaptation of her children's book, Feb. 13
- The Macon Symphony Orchestra, performing classical and contemporary works, Feb. 20
- The Summer of Swans, a play based on Betsy Byars' contemporary classic and Newberry Medal-winning novel, Feb.23
- Macon Sinfonia, an infusion of dance and music provided by the joint efforts of the Macon Moving Company, Middle Georgia Ballet and The Macon Symphony Orchestra, March 12
- Ferdinand the Bull, a musical based on the classic book by Munro Leaf, March 18-19
- Billy Jonas, an acclaimed one-man-band, March 25
A second program, called GrandKids Act II, is offered for middle and high school students. The program offers performances on more in-depth subject matter. This year's presentation will be And Then They Came For Me, a multimedia event about the hidden children of the Holocaust, on Feb. 12.
For a more information, visit The Grand's Web site at thegrand.mercer.edu and click on "GrandKids."