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Arts for Martin 2010

January 19, 2010

Arts for Martin is firmly established as an ARTech tradition of some standing in the community.  That fact was borne out by the “standing room only” sized audience in attendance at last Friday night’s event.   This was the sixth Arts for Martin that our school has hosted, and it didn’t disappoint.

There are so many people to be grateful for who contribute to this event that it’s hard to know where to start.  How about we just run through the list of artists who gave to the party.

Father Denny Dempsey spoke eloquently about the connection between Northfield and a Hispanic population that has roots in Maltrata, VeraCruz.   Each year, he visits Maltrata and builds trusting relationships that strengthen our community here in Northfield.   His next visit is coming up on January 30.  We wish him well.

Our friends from Prairie Creek, under the leadership of Rachel Geffers, enlivened proceeding with versions of Lambo and Yonder Come Day.   These two African songs flowed well, preceded as they were by the ARTech African Drum Ensemble. I loved the fact that most of the fourth and fifth graders and their parents hung around to see the rest of the show.  The open-mouthed astonishment of the young ‘uns at the sight of the Aztec Dancers was a tremendous thing to behold.

Ah, those Aztec Dancers.  My wife insists they stole the show (did she not see the Performance Poets?!), and, indeed, they are a powerful force to behold.  I always get a kick out of watching our own Diego lead the group.   They perform with an abandon and joy in the dance which is irresistable.

As always, I was reminded of how fortunate we are to have  our own Dance in Residency program at school.  Charisse’s group of ARTech dancers performed a piece called Step Up and Set the Pace.   Perhaps we will see them in action again at the upcoming Presentation Night.

Alright, so I admit it, I enjoyed  being a Performance Poet.   Bob arranged a stirring version of Invictus and the group of high school students who participated were tremendous fun to work with.

I’m always intrigued by the casual way that Bob brings together musicians and singers to form the backing band and community choir.  As well as the traditional We Shall Overcome, we were treated to a rousing version of Keep Walkin’ On by Ann Gregory-Bjorklund and Pauline Jennings.   

A great night, indeed.   Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of this event is the student and staff involvement in the detailed preparations that make it happen.  Many thanks go to the grantwriters (Lisa and Tokala) and the support of the Northfield Area Arts Foundation and Healthy Community Initiative.  Among others, the event also depended on the contributions of the backdrop artist (Tokala), stage managers (Rayna, Jordan and Sarah), sound folk (Brent, helped by Todd and Dave), poster and program design (Sarah and Kyle) and a whole host of students who are members of the ARTech stage crew.

And, of course, thank you Bob, for making sure that we take time to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Amy Goerwitz permalink
    January 25, 2010 1:06 am

    Thanks for organizing such an engaging event. We really enjoyed the evening. While there were many good performances, I must say that Invictus was as cool as the Aztec Dancers. I hope to see more of both of these groups.

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