by Vivian Edersheim
Students from the three local schools have a rare opportunity to see, hear and interact with professional musicians from the Canadian group Everything Fitz Sept. 23.
Everything Fitz features high-energy fiddling and percussive step dancing by some of Canada's finest young musicians. With roots in the Canadian old-time fiddle tradition and Ottawa Valley step dancing, their unique stage show combines a variety of musical styles from traditional jigs and reels to bluegrass to Celtic and gospel.
The six-member group will be in town for Sunday Afternoon Live on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Raymond Theatre. A day later, they will be on hand at the theater to entertain and educate local students from grades 4 through 12 in three assemblies.
“Each assembly is different, as we try to include the grades that we feel would most enjoy and gain from the specific performer(s),” said Cecelia Seaman, chairperson of Sunday Afternoon Live's board of directors. Grades 4-6 will be at the theater at 9:15, followed by grades 7-9 at 10:30 a.m., and grades 10-12 at 1:15 p.m.
The assemblies, called “outreach”, are made available through the National Endowment for the Arts, Western States Arts Foundation (WESTAF) grants as well as local matching donations. WESTAF provides the grants to arts organizations for out-of-state performers within WESTAF's 13-state membership.
Sunday Afternoon Live has found the outreach to be an important addition to local entertainment opportunities.
“Our aims are to broaden the students’ knowledge and enjoyment of many varieties of music,” Seaman said. “Over the years we have had classical, African drums, a cappella '50s music, a naturalist (no music at all), Mexican harp/guitar group, a story teller, and more. Also we are teaching them 'theater manners' - appreciation of the performers and the rest of the audience.”
Since 2005, Sunday Afternoon Live has provided 14 outreach sessions, some for adults as well as students, and at least one presentation that included Ocosta students. More than 6,000 people have been reached through those outreach sessions.
“It’s great to live in a place that takes its obligations to our young people seriously,” Raymond Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Holland wrote to Sunday Afternoon Live after one outreach.
“SAL tries to sponsor two assemblies per season,” Seaman said. This season's second outreach will be Monday, May 14,2014, featuring Alaskan pianist Johnny B with students from grades 1-9.
Sunday Afternoon Live offers season tickets at $65 for seven performances, plus guaranteed seating at the annual free military concert. A student rate of $35 is available for individuals who are attending school.