Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Visit to NOCCA and the YMCA

After yesterday's uplifting performance, we began Monday with a trip to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts - NOCCA.  A high school for arts students in the New Orleans area, NOCCA runs a full day academic program in addition to its offerings in a huge variety of artistic pursuits - it covers everything from dance to culinary arts.  

After a tour of the beautiful facility, featuring sweeping views of the Mississippi River, the team split up so that we could each work with students who shared our specialty.  Following the classes, we all gathered in NOCCA's Lupin Hall, where the the team put on short performance.  
Daniel and Lorin started us off with mesmerizing duet, Paton and JJ moved the team and the audience with their poetry and rendition of 'For Good' from Wicked, Said wowed the crowd with an aria from Der Freischutz, Enrique and Braxton delivered some toe tapping jazz, and Mariam shared Molly's beautiful piece for solo violin.  We finished the show with an excerpt from Barber's unparalleled 'Adagio for Strings" and the dancers' joyful group performance to "Ease on Down the Road'. 
Our visit ended with a Q and A session with all the students in the audience.  Its always a joy to work with the students at NOCCA, many of whom are looking to make a transition to arts conservatories and colleges around the country in the near future.

Next stop for the team was the Dryades YMCA where will be working for the next three days.  Here the group dove into team teaching, working with small groups of students as part of our after-school arts program.  From the hallway you could hear the sounds of singing, music, and laughter.  At our end of day reflection each teaching team told of their varied experience in their own classroom.  There were triumphs of communication and challenges in areas of discipline and respect.  Every group of students we visit this week comes with a unique set of joys and hurdles.

On a final note, its worth mentioning the completely awesome dinner we sat down to after teaching.  With fantastic burgers on the new grill, rice, salad, beans and a peach cobbler worth blogging about, this year's team is continuing a tradition of fantastic teamwork that stretches beyond the stage - right into the kitchen.

Tomorrow we start work with Habitat for Humanity!  Stay tuned for pictures from today and more reports from New Orleans through out the week.  

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