There is a lot that goes on before “quiet, lights, action” happens in any theater. One of the best things is to be an usher for the young people’s Aberdeen Area Arts Council events. My husband and I have experienced that several times in the past few years.
Local and area school students are invited to come see the event in the Aberdeen Civic Theater for a free performance. This is generally for third through sixth grades, depending on the artist(s) and usually geared specifically to their age level. Busses begin to arrive up to 30 minutes prior to the performance so that students can be ushered to their seats by school. When they file into the lobby, they are already excited to see what will be happening on the stage. Of course, because they are children and are happy to be on a “field trip” away from school, they have a lot of energy. Our Executive Director, Stacy Braun, has planned ahead with music to play while they wait. Whenever, the theme song “Let it Go” from Frozen plays, the whole place erupts in their singing along and stretching their arms to the sky. Have you ever watched 1600 kids do that? It is pretty unbelievable. They even surprised themselves the first time!
When Stacy steps onto the stage to make announcements and introduce the performers, everything changes. The young people are so attentive and well-behaved. Many thanks to their teachers for teaching them performance etiquette. One group of performers taught them to “beat box” with them. It was quite a wonderful experience to hear the whole theater making a cappella music. They loved it! They also learned about music origins and how it evolved to the sounds they like today.
Another performance was the story of Helen Keller done in dance. This was a special opportunity for the students from the School for the Visually Impaired to be guests on stage before the performance. Actors/dancers showed them the stage setting and props so that they could understand what the rest of the audience would be seeing. There was no speaking in the performance, only music. You could have heard a pin drop because the young people were so engrossed.
The Aberdeen Area Arts Council is an organization that believes strongly that exposing young people to the arts will help them to continue those experiences into their adult life. Creativity through all kinds of venues is important to healthy, productive living. It also is a record of our times. History is recorded through music, plays and dance as well as other means. Think about your own childhood and how important those memories are to you. We hope to help keep the younger generation cultivated with many wonderful events.
Aberdeen Area Arts Council