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COHOES — City Hall and its neighboring school district, in partnership with the Music Hall Arts Alliance, Park Playhouse and Peak Music, announced a three-week performing arts education pilot program for the summer.
“It is energizing to see these entities come together for the benefit of the arts and children of Cohoes,” said Holly Brown, Executive Director of the Music Hall. “I am proud to be a part of this program, and also to be able to share this historic theatre with children and their families. This is an important experience that lasts long after the final showcase performance is over. I look forward to working alongside these professionals to grow arts education in this City and our region,”
The three-week program starts in July and will culminate in a showcase presentation on the stage of the Cohoes Music Hall. Tuition will be free thanks to support from Prime Companies, Pioneer Bank and the Cohoes LDC.
The program’s musical theatre curriculum will be designed by the staff of Park Playhouse, and will cover all areas of musical theatre performance, including instruction in dance, acting and voice.
Teaching artists from Park Playhouse and staff from the Cohoes City School District will provide instruction geared to students in fourth through eighth grades. This three-week long pilot program will serve 75 students.
A songwriting and video presentation program, IGNITE Music Passion!, designed by Jeff and Crystal Moore of Peak Music will also be offered. Peak Music, a new business to downtown Cohoes and adjacent to the Music Hall, has developed this program for aspiring singer-songwriters of various ages. “As a small business, we welcome this collaboration with the City and School District. What a great opportunity to mentor and work with the youth of Cohoes to cultivate their creativity while helping them develop skills that will serve them well in their academic and personal lives,” Crystal Moore of Peak Music noted. The program will culminate in the screening of a world premiere of a music video featuring a song written and performed by the participating students. The goal of IGNITE Music Passion! is to excite students about the personal and professional transformational qualities of music. Students will spend half-days for one week (three different age groups hosted weekly) working in an age-appropriate, welcoming, supportive, fun, and challenging environment designed to promote creativity, a sense of belonging, community pride, and self-discipline. No musical experience is necessary other than an interest in musical expression. Students will draw on their diverse backgrounds and rich life experiences in the City of Cohoes to compose the featured song.
“This is a great example of community resources working together to engage students with high quality ‘hands-on’ arts education in our great city. Providing our students with more opportunity to channel their inner creativity is an integral part of development,” states Mayor Shawn Morse.
Studies show that performing arts education enhances a child’s interpersonal skills, collaborative abilities, and boosts confidence. Additionally, exposure to arts education helps students make sense of their emotions and develop new ways to express themselves.
“This is such a tremendous opportunity for the students of Cohoes. Just last year, we were able to add back band and chorus at our elementary schools. Now, we are forming key partnerships with music professionals to help further inspire our students and strengthen their engagement in the arts,” Cohoes Superintendent Jennifer Spring said.
“Music education spurs creativity and this type of collaboration provides academic, social and personal benefits for our students. We feel so fortunate to be forging these partnerships. Few districts have the privilege of having arts professionals in their backyard. Fewer still make connections that offer opportunities for students to experience and participate in the arts,” Spring continued.
Registration forms for the Summer Arts Education Program are now available in the main offices of Cohoes elementary schools and middle school.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.