Out & About

Exposure to the arts will help kids stay actively engaged in their education

Kids Jam at Bragg Jam

Bragg Jam's Leila Regan-Porter says there's something for everyone at this year's concert crawl where even youngsters stepped up to the mic to perform.
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Bragg Jam's Leila Regan-Porter says there's something for everyone at this year's concert crawl where even youngsters stepped up to the mic to perform.

Maybe it’s because students just went back to the classroom, but it seems as if most of the news this week involves young people, programs for youth, scholarships and the like.

This is a very good thing. It’s a truism but nonetheless a fact worth repeating: Our future depends on today’s investment in the young. Our numerous local theater organizations especially have that one thing in common. They all have substantial programs for youth.

At the final performance of Theatre Macon’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Caitlin Schwartz, who is headed to Columbus State University to study theater education, received the Jonathan Killen Scholarship, given in memory of a talented young man who was an early member of the Youth Actors Company. The Ken Clark Scholarship went to Terrance Shelton, who is bound for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy College and Conservatory in New York. Wonderfully, last week’s Bragg Jam again included the Arts & Kids Festival, featuring performers from this summer’s Otis Redding Music Camp.

Macon Little Theatre at the beginning of the summer presented “Aladdin” in cooperation with Sylvia Haynie and Laura Voss’s Academy of the Performing Arts. It was also announced that Haynie, a long-time teacher, had been appointed artistic manager at Macon Little Theatre.

Coming up this weekend, the Central Georgia Opera Guild is presenting the Vocal Student Benefit Concert benefiting Jackson Harvey and Sarah Kate Sellers. Sunday’s program, slated for 5 p.m. in Pierce Chapel at Wesleyan College, will also feature Macon’s rising opera star Jasmine Habersham.

Next weekend are the auditions for Mercer University’s two youth choirs (preparatory and 3rd-5th grade) and touring (5th-12th grade). These auditions, set for Aug. 12-13, offer a transformative experience for talented youth. Parents can learn more about this opportunity by visiting music.mercer.edu/community.

There can be no question that exposing kids to music programs — in school or in the community — is an almost sure-fire method for ensuring they stay actively engaged in their education. Although none of my children followed (or very likely will follow) music after graduation, the magic worked when it was needed. For example, Central High School’s recently retired violin teacher Pat McCall will always rank as one of my most admired people: One of my kids enrolled in a Period 0 class (6:30 a.m.) for four straight years, just to study with maestro McCall. Yes, I am a believer.

Coming up

At 3 p.m. Sunday at the Douglass Theatre we’ll see the National Theatre Live HD live telecast of Part I of “Angels in America,” one of the great plays of the 20th century. On Aug. 20 we’ll see Part II.

Beach Ball, the Macon Arts Alliance’s annual fundraiser at the Terminal Station, is set for 7-10 p.m. Aug. 12. If we pull together, perhaps we’ll see fewer disasters like the financial collapse of the Macon Symphony Orchestra.