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Nearly 1,000 student-artists from Michigan high schools will be named Michigan Youth Arts Distinguished Scholars and participate in the 50th annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival, May 10-12 in Kalamazoo. In celebration of 50 years of artistic excellence, the 2012 Festival will also honor six celebrity Inspiration Award winners, notable artists in the fine and peforming arts.
The following Inspiration Award recipients have confirmed their attendance at the 2012 Festival:
Regina Carter (Instrumental Music). Native Michigander, graduate of Cass Tech and Oakland University, she is an accomplished jazz violinist, a MacArthur Fellow, an educator, a concert musician and a recording artist.
Hopwood DePree (Film). Producer, writer, director, and actor, his films include Rhinoskin andThe Last Big Attraction. Hopwood is the co-founder of Michigan's Waterfront Film Festival, and was appointed by the Governor to serve as an Advisor to the Michigan Film Office to help grow the industry in his home state.
Garth Fagan (Dance). Founder and artistic director of Garth Fagan Dance, now celebrating its 40th anniversary season, and Tony and Olivier award winner for choreography for the Broadway hit The Lion King. Mr. Fagan will be on hand to work with student choreographers during the Festival.
Carl Magnusson (Visual Art & Design). Former Executive Vice President, Director of Design for Knoll, and winner of multiple awards for design and innovation, his firm CGM Design serves automotive and furniture related companies in design strategy and product design. Mr. Magnusson will give a public lecture on Friday, May 11, at the Festival.
George Shirley (Vocal Music). Internationally acclaimed tenor and Grammy-award winning recording artist, Professor Shirley was one of the first African-American music teachers in a Detroit high school, and the first African-American tenor to perform leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera.
Tracy K. Smith (Creative Writing). The author of three books of poetry. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Ms. Smith will be on hand to work with student-authors during the Festival, and will give a public lecture on Friday, May 11.
Inspiration Awardees will participate in a guest artist workshop panel exclusively for Festival students, moderated by Gracie Allen award-winning, WGVU radio host, Shelley Irwin. The public will have the opportunity to meet the artists at the V.I.P. reception of Amplify: A Gala Benefitting Arts Education, hosted by Michigan Youth Arts and ArtServe Michigan, on Thursday, May 10. Amplify will be held in the Richmond Center on the campus of Western Michigan University, and will continue with a strolling dinner featuring student performances. The evening will conclude with the Welcoming Celebration - the Festival's opening ceremonies in Miller Auditorium, where the Inspiration Awardees will receive their awards and introduce the next generation of student-artists.
Among its outstanding student performances, the Welcoming Celebration will feature the world-premiere of a multi-disciplinary performance piece, commissioned for the Festival's 50th anniversary. Composed by Michigan-raised musician Mischa Zupko, and conducted by Western Michigan University Professor Bruce Uchimura, Strung with Glory, features dance, theatre, a full orchestra, and a one-hundred-member choir. It will be performed by over 200 high school artists.
The Michigan Youth Arts Festival is a comprehensive arts spectacular, where students participate performances and exhibitions, as well as educational rehearsals, workshops and master classes taught by working professionals in the arts. The Distinguished Scholars, chosen from more than 250,000 students across the state, are selected based on artistic merit.
"The extraordinary level of talent and dedication of Festival students is truly impressive," says Dabbs. "The Distinguished Scholars embody a dedication to excellence coupled with a capacity for creative thinking that is essential for success in the 21st century."
PERFORMANCES, EXHIBITIONS AND TICKETS
There are dozens of public performances and exhibitions during the three days of the Festival, which takes place on the campus of Western Michigan University. A complete schedule of events, as well as information for school groups wishing to attend performances, can be found atmichiganyoutharts.org. Tickets to Friday's and Saturday's events are free of charge.
Tickets to Amplify: A Gala Benefitting Excellence in Arts Education are $50 for the Welcoming Celebration, $100 with the strolling dinner, and $150 including the VIP reception. They can be purchased at michiganyoutharts.org or by calling 248-545-9200.
Michigan Youth Arts is continuing another Festival tradition by honoring fourteen Michigan arts educators with Touchstone Awards. Conferred upon arts educators who exemplify best-practices in arts education, with a record of advocacy for arts programs, dedication to bringing out the very best in their students, and continued commitment to artistic excellence, the Touchstone Awards recognize outstanding achievement in arts education across disciplines.
Dabbs, says the dedication of Michigan's best arts educators is worthy of celebrating in a statewide forum. "Touchstone awardees show us what's possible in arts education. They endow students with a strong work ethic and a capacity for innovation that is vital to Michigan's future." For a complete list of 2012 Touchstone Awardees, visit michiganyoutharts.org.