Before speaking to members and guests, Ja’ Malik, the Artistic Director for the Madison Ballet, treated us to a small snippet of The Nutcracker featuring three ballerinas from the Madison ballet. He then shared with us his vision of diversity, inclusion, opportunity and exposure to the arts that he encouraged members to help facilitate as they consider their consumption and support for the arts.
This can be a life-changing experience, just as it was for him as an 8-year-old child of color. He was enthralled after seeing a performance of The Nutcracker with his mother and ballet ended up being his career. It has taken him around the nation and world. The performing arts changes lives, and his vision of accessibility to all seeks to make that a reality.
The program for our last meeting of the year was a video compilation of performances by five Madison-area youth arts organizations. Featured video montages were from:
Opera for the Young – A professional adult touring company that brings interactive performances to elementary schools throughout the Upper Midwest. Adult casts collaborate with music teachers and student choruses to perform specially created opera adaptations. They reach 70,000 children at around 200 schools. They showed snippets from Pirates of Penzance and The Magic Flute.
Little Picassos – A youth-focused art enrichment organization that serves low-income families and seeks to provide more equal access to art education and enrichment. The program provides a safe and nurturing environment to create and learn about art genres and history. It also seeks to highlight the achievements of Black, Latino and Indigenous artists.
Music Con Brio – Created to provide affordable, accessible, and high-quality music lessons to children regardless of a family’s ability to pay or transport their child to and from lessons. They produce an annual community concert series in collaboration with diverse Madison groups that perform a wide range of music from chamber music to jazz and funk.
Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps – Founded in 1920, the Madison Scouts is the oldest youth music organization in the State of Wisconsin. The program reaches over 4,000 youth students through music education programs, leadership development programs, and events hosted in Wisconsin through performing ensembles, and the Madison Scouts. The Madison Scouts bring 165 youth from around the world including North America, Japan and Europe.
Madison Ballet – Reaches around 13,000 people per year through live ballet productions at the Overture Center, School of Madison Ballet, and outreach partnerships with other non-profits in the Madison area. The video they shared was of a performance at a state park near Delafield of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Thanks to Neil Fauerbach for doing the video editing to present this program at our meeting.