Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Community United: A Summary of our Too Hot to Handel Education Outreach


The choral risers, music stands, and instruments have been cleared from the stage – the musicians, soloists, and crew on to different gigs. Yet still, even after Too Hot to Handel’s curtain came down on the evening of January 15 and 16, there is a lasting buzz and lingering glow in the hearts and minds of everyone who experienced and participated in our rousing tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our Too Hot outreach programs facilitated several direct engagements with Chicago Public School children. We kicked off in late November with our Too Hot Residency Program. We spent one full week with students at Mc Nair, Whitter, Spencer, Price, Lewis, and Reavis Elementary. Students created an original musical composition in response to Dr. King’s historic speech Birth of a New Nation (1957).

We were also thrilled to work with the choral students at Benito Juarez Community Academy High School and the music students at Wendell Phillips High School. Both groups of students had the opportunity to participate in a master class with the world renowned artists of Too Hot to Handel. And on Friday, January 14th, the Auditorium Theatre was filled with about 1,800 students from all over Chicagoland for our Too Hot to Handel student matinee rehearsal.

And perhaps most far-reaching was our annual Poetry Contest. Students in grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12 were invited to write a poem discussing what beloved community means to them. We were thrilled to receive 539 entries from students all over the city. We engaged the Historical Voices Changing Modern Minds Poetry Club at Wendell Phillips High School in judging the poems. The youth created a rubric that allowed them to look at each child’s poem individually while engaging them in a discussion about what makes a poem good and what makes a poem stand out among others. The group decided to focus on five elements: theme, language and rhythm, originality, emotional response, and spelling and grammar. Contestants who scored highest on the rubric were considered finalists in the contest. The finalists and winner in each grade category were published in our program booklet distributed to each patron attending Too Hot. The winners were also given the opportunity to attend a performance of Too Hot, and had their poem published in N’DIGO’s Magazine’s MLK issue.
Too Hot to Handel Poetry Contest Finalists Program Book Insert
Too Hot to Handel Pre-Show Poetry Contest Presentation

For more information on any of our education programs, please contact education@auditoriumtheatre.org.

Nicole Losurdo is the Senior Director of Education.

Too Hot to Handel education programs are made possible through the generous support of JP Morgan Chase.

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