Jazz Arts Group partners with A+ Children’s Academy for inaugural music festival

In partnership with the Jazz Arts Group’s Jazz in Schools program, A+ Children’s Academy Community School (ACAC) is hosting the first annual A+ Community Music Festival on July 28, 2012 from 11 AM to 3 PM on the school grounds at 100 Obetz Road. Admission is free. The inaugural event for the A+ Children’s Academy will be a festive prelude to what is anticipated as the most innovative public elementary school program in central Ohio.

The theme for the festival is “I Have a Voice.” The headlining act for the festival will feature musicians from the Jazz Arts Group presenting a program at 1:45 PM — “Jazz Is Spoken Here,” which, in keeping with the festival theme, emphasizes the importance of building a strong community that is inclusive of everyone. The program also gives a message of anti-bullying and tolerance. Renowned drummer Reggie Jackson, and Skip Sams, a Southside native and the Artistic Director of A+ Children’s Academy, will present the program. Also scheduled at the festival are Joe Lambert and Joanne Blum who will be leading a fun sing-along as well as lead in a community drum circle at 12 PM. One of the highlights of the early afternoon will feature some of the children from the community presenting a musical program about the importance of recycling.

The festivities will also include many free activities, including face painting, snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, balloons, and several carnival games, including a life-size version of the popular game, Angry Birds. A raffle will be held at the end of the event for families who have registered at the admission (free) gate. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased and all the monies will go to buy musical instruments for the school. Donations for the raffle and for musical instruments are still being accepted.

The music on stage at the festival is but just a small taste of the many genres of music that will be taught at the new A+ Children’s Academy. This elementary school is unique in that, in addition to teaching general music education, it will implement the performing arts of music, movement and drama, to assist in teaching all core-curriculum subjects.

“Our school does not audition children and it is not our intention to try to create superstars,” said Artistic Director Skip Sams. “The mission is to provide children with an education that is experiential and will be applicable to the child’s growth throughout their educational and professional careers.”

Sams said the school will be collaborating with Columbus’ Jazz Arts Group and BalletMet Columbus, as well as highly-qualified dance and instrumental professionals

“to give our students a wide spectrum of opportunities to explore many forms of music and movement so that they will gain a great appreciation for all the arts, and an even greater appreciation for themselves as they become culturally balanced.”

Mindi Hardgrow knows the far Southside community very well. She is a Southside native and has served as president of the Scioto Southland Civic Association and is currently the president of the Far South Columbus Area Commission. Hardgrow knows that through focusing on the whole child, a community school will provide students the opportunities that they may not otherwise have in a traditional school system. “Community schools allow educators to form relationships with community stakeholders to ensure that all children are given opportunities through music, art, extracurricular activities, training, and family services. We are able to focus on the individual child and their role in society.” As principal of A+ Children’s Academy she is excited about the inclusion of performing arts into all parts of the core curriculum. “Our program develops and provides services for the students and teachers that will stimulate creativity and enhance the learning experience in all subjects.”

Sams said the festival is just the first of many. This first year is just a brief preview of what the school will teach. The vision is that future music festivals will celebrate the end of the school year in early June.

Sams said “we will feature music and dance groups from the Columbus community and we will always reprise some favorite student programs from the year.”

For more information about this year’s A+ Community Music Festival or the A+ Children’s Academy Community School, visit www.apluschildrensacademy.org

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