Monday, May 30, 2016

Sneak Peak at 5/27 Spread Art Showcase

Tavon "TMac" performing an original

Samira performing "On & On" by Erykah Badu

Tessa Perez and Annick Odom warming up on "Crazy for You" by Adele

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Covenant House Michigan Residents Reflect on their Past Week

This past Friday was our last day of our week-long workshop series at Covenant House Michigan.

Performance later that night featuring Covenant House Michigan residents, as well as teaching artists Annick Odom, Betsy Lee, Veniece Session, Rachael Harbert, Claire Liburdi, Michael Gardner, and Sarah Schwendeman.

Participants talked about their favorite activity or performances, something new they experienced, and what they might continue to work on once we leave. Here are the heart-warming answers we received. 

"I liked the four components; art, dance, theatre, and music. This whole week I had a feeling of relaxation. These workshops helped me get coping skills and I was learning how to interact with people who may have differing of feelings."

"First coming in it was a little tough, but then when I found something I was interested in. I liked dance and became more involved."

"I found peace, it was a place where I could leave my problems."

"[DAI] activities were better than video games. I started getting along with people. Acting helped to express feelings."

"I enjoyed the opportunities to learn and expand my creativity and artistic expression. It was an equal learning space and there was no feeling of teacher versus student."

"All the teachers were very different and it was nice to see how they processed and dealt with being disrespected in the classroom. It helped me understand there are other ways to react."

"I feel like I am more human, less violent, more caring about the people around."

"I care more about interactions and how they affect people."

"I've learned how to feel better about my personal abilities. I feel intellectual, and have more thought about my actions."

"I want to go to college after this, possibly for acting."

"Acting and rapping were my favorite activities."

"I tried to dance, and the way we learned to move changed my perception on dance. I felt like I could tell a story."

"I loved dancing here."

"Participation in this week was overwhelming for me and a great experience."

"Being known and accepted as an artist helped to empower me."

What is a word that you would use to describe your week with Detroit Arts Immersion?

  • Happy
  • Sensational
  • Successful
  • Inspirational
  • Anticipation
  • Ohana-means family
  • Eclectic 
  • Talented
  • Energized
  • Rational
  • Courageous
  • Creativity
  • Healing
  • Serenity
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Thankful

Tessa Perez, Annick Odom, and Michael Gardner after their trio performance at Spread Art @ Detroit Contemporary.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Last Fundraiser of the Year for Detroit Arts Immersion

Are you ready for our performance next Friday? Check back for some short interviews with our performers. 

Designed by Betsy Lee.

An Amazing Night with Broadway Stars

I volunteered this past Thursday with Covenant House Michigan and unexpectedly got to see some of our students from past Detroit Arts Immersion workshops singing onstage with renowned Broadway stars.

Broadway came to Detroit for one special night at A Night of Broadway Stars, a benefit for Covenant House Michigan. The show, produced and led by renowned composer and lyricist Neil Berg whose credits include Grumpy Old Men and The Prince and the Pauper, featured solo and group performances by Broadway’s biggest stars re-creating their roles and music from Phantom, Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Dreamgirls and more.

Yes, these stars were amazing, but what wowed me even more was the poise and personality that shown through when our students were on stage. Two of them shared their personal stories and thanked Covenant House Michigan for the support that they've provided. They also talked about how passionate they are about creating a music career for themselves, one as a rapper and music producer and one as a singer. Hearing them share their passion for music made me even more excited that Detroit Arts Immersion is returning to Covenant House Michigan this week. 

-- Annick Odom, music teaching artist

Here are some terrible quality pictures to prove I was there and share some of my excitement with you :) 

For those of you who want to know which Broadway artists were present: 
Richard Todd Adams, Neil Berg, Jason E. Bernard, Roger Cohen, Rob Evan, Rita Harvey, Capathia Jenkins, Natalie Toro, Brian Walters, and Abe Saenz. 

We had a great time at our Ann Arbor performance at Canterbury House.

Betsy Lee, visual artist, proud after setting up her artwork.

Tessa Patterson, rocking out on vocals and keys.

Annick Odom and Mike Gardner, as part of the musical group Bobbiejak.

Annick Odom, double bassist and clarinetist, also performed in playwright Emilio Rodriguez's reading of one of his works earlier that night.

Rachael Ahn Harbert, dancer and mover, at the beginning of an engaging piece of improvised dance.
Rachael Ahn Harber, continuing to use this child-sized chair as a dance prop.

Audience members were engaged and invited into the dance. Rachael Ahn Harbert and Jonathan Taylor continue their performance.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Covenant Idol, Round 1 to the Final Round

Michael Gardner, Tessa Patterson, and Emilio Rodriguez are excited to begin judging the first round of the Covenant Idol competition. 

Our three judges hard at work while they listen to the contestants. Once they decide who wins, they'll be back at Covenant House Michigan to do some more coachings. 

One of our participants on the right, dancing at Covenant Idol. 

We're so proud of the two young artists that we helped select at Covenant House Michigan! Tayvon and Samira took first and third place at Covenant Idol at the Hard Rock Cafe Detroit.

Planning and our first week!

Pic of us after our first get together and planning meeting for our first week of workshops. Teaching artists in top picture left to right: Rachael Ahn Harbert, Reshounn Foster, Sarah Schwendeman, Annick Odom, Betsy Lee, & Emilio Rodriguez.

We just signed into Covenant House Michigan. We're beyond excited for our first day. Pictured teaching artists: Annick Odom and Tessa Patterson. 

Any guesses what we made for our second day? Masks!

Finished masks! What emotions do you think people were channeling for each?

Sarah Schwendeman working on an example mask to show participants. 

What do participants really think?

What did participants think of our workshops? Here are a few select reviews. Overall folks really connected to acting as well as other arts forms, as they thought it allowed them space to express themselves. 

Anddd we're halfway!

We had an amazing first week of workshops this May. Here are a couple of pictures. More reflections to come!