Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Artist-in-Residence Adama Dembele Teaches West African Drumming

West African drummer Adama Dembele is in residence at Claxton this week, thanks to support from the Claxton PTO.

Dembele is a 33rd generation djembe player from Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa.  He has toured several continents playing in both drum and dance companies.  He moved to the U.S. in 2005 to perform and teach the sacred art of West African Drumming.  Since then, he has taught from New York to California and, of course, Asheville, where he now lives.  

He is spending the week working with second graders in Mr. Butler's music classes. Students learned to play rhythms particular to the Sinufu and Yagba people of Ivory Coast and Mali. They also learned about life in urban and rural West Africa, how certain rhythms can communicate meaning, and even a few words in the tribal dialects of the region. The kids were quite impressed to learn that Adama speaks eight languages—six of the regional peoples of West Africa, French, and English!

With plans to further incorporate West African drumming into the music curriculum, through Adama's help and the support of our principal, Mrs. Dechant, Claxton has acquired several new West African drums and shakers this year so students can have a genuine cultural experience in their music making. Stop by the music room to see the beautiful new djembe drums Adama brought to us from Côte d'Ivoire.

Listen to one of his drumming sessions with students at Claxton's spreaker site. We are extremely fortunate to have him with us!

Here he is performing at the 2009 Goombay Festival:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Congratulations, Snow White Cast and Crew!

Claxton's spring production of The Rockin' Tale of Snow White performed to sold out audiences and great acclaim Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon.  The talented cast sang, danced, and created beguiling characters, all to applause, laughter, and glowing reviews from the four- and six-year-olds we interviewed.

The Dwarves Boogie

The Evil Stepmother Has a Frank Discussion with the Magic Mirror

Singing Snow White's Praises

Happily Ever After

Congratulations to our talented students and faculty whose hard work made this fabulous production possible.  And special thanks to all the parents and, especially, the band members who donated their time so our children could reap the benefits of participating in the performing arts.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Third Grade Roots and Wings Classes Perform for Regional A+ Retreat

The fabulous and talented students in Mr. Cassara's and Mr. Butler's third grade Roots and Wings group kicked off a regional retreat for teachers and administrators from A+ schools across the region with a musical, visual, and multilingual performance Thursday morning.

The retreat included participants from A+ schools in Charlotte, Banner Elk, and other Western North Carolina school districts.  Discussions centered on the best way to continue fostering A+ programs and on the importance and success of arts integration in education.

We are so proud of how impressed everyone was with the student artwork displayed throughout our school.  What a lovely opportunity to see Claxton through new eyes and recognize it as a thriving School of the Arts.

But we are especially proud of the talents of our students—not just the ones who performed, but all of our talented visual artists, singers, dancers, musicians, actors, and writers.

Friday, April 12, 2013

See Our Students Perform at the International Spring Carnival on April 13

This spring's International Carnival includes so many great activities, but one is especially close to our A+ hearts.  The Main Stage, located on the big playground, will include a full roster of performances by Claxton students.

Here's the schedule:

10:30 -- Ninjas of Kasumi Mountain Martial Arts
11:00 -- Ms. Yetta's World Dancers
11:30 -- music by Mr. Butler and Friends
12:00 -- Meet with a Beat After School Arts class
12:30 -- Morning Singers
1:00 -- Orff Ensemble

Admission to the Carnival is free, so anyone can come enjoy the performances.  But we bet you'll want to purchase wristbands to play games and play in the bounce houses.  And who wouldn't want a few tickets to get their face painted or enjoy some Barley's pizza and ice cream from The Hop?

We are particularly excited that all proceeds from the 50/50 raffle and from the silent auction of beautiful planters painted by each Claxton class will go directly to funding the Children's Art Garden planned for installation in Spring 2014!

** Don't forget to preorder your wristbands and tickets before April 11 and save 20%! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Week of Ceramics with Artist-in-Residence Alex Irvine

Ceramics artist Alex Irvine spent a full week sharing his talents with Claxton students, March 18 through the 22nd.  Kindergarteners, third graders, and fourth graders were lucky enough to work with Irvine during their time in Mr. Cassara's class.  Each student designed his or her own 8" x 8" ceramic tile using the theme of "personal choice."

In all, the students created about 240 tiles.  Each student will take one tile home.  Look for others to appear soon in permanent installations on the Claxton campus!

Until then, enjoy these pictures from Irvine's visit.  We hope to have him visit again—the kids loved him!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Morning of Jazz and Gospel

Claxton parent Dr. Will Bares recently teamed up with our own Regina Blount and Georgianna Shivers and Friends to perform jazz and gospel for Claxton students.

Dr. Bares is an Assistant Professor in the Music Department at UNCA. He spent ten years performing and researching jazz in Europe, and his book Eternal Triangle: American Jazz in European Postmodern is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

Ms. Blount teaches kindergarten at Claxton, and Ms. Shivers is a Third Grade Assistant here. Their students were thrilled to see them on stage.

Everyone who attended enjoyed the music and gained a deeper understanding of the roots of jazz and gospel. We are so lucky to have such talent in the Claxton community! Our special thanks to Dr. Bares for volunteering his time to share his knowledge and love of jazz with our students.