On Sunday October 10, children sang, danced and discovered new instruments with Gateway to the Arts’ artists during two fun-filled performances at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. As part of RADical Days 2010, Barbara Russell and Janice Coppola performed Bubbe Tells a Tale and Rhythmic Cultures provided an introduction to Appalachian, Zulu and Cajun music. An intergenerational event, these performances in the PNC Pavilion attracted over 250 people, from tots to teens along with their parents, grandparents and caregivers.
The first performance was Bubbe Tells a Tale, actor and educator Barbara Russell’s and klezmer musician Janice Coppola’s retelling of the Yiddish folktale It Could Be Worse. As the house in the story fills with animals, children joined in by making animal sounds, clapping, dancing and learning some Yiddish works in. After the tale, Janice showed how she mimics the animal sounds with her clarinet and children joined Barbara for a “circle dance”.
For the second performance Rhythmic Cultures, composed of dancer and musician Bob Dunlap along with musician Mark Tamsula, engaged children and parents with participatory music and dance activities that have influenced the American music we know today, exploring the cultural traditions of Appalachia, African and Louisiana. Using a variety of instruments, their program had children tap dancing and playing the spoons, triangles, washboards, and even Limberjack clog dancing puppets!
This event was the second in Gateway’s Family Performance Series, which kicked-off last June with a performance by Delta Blue at the Schenley Plaza in Oakland. A family outreach program, the Family Performance Series is designed to educate and engage parents in quality arts learning for their children. The programs performed by Gateway artists are the same programs that are available to schools and libraries as part of Gateway to the Arts mission to integrate quality arts experiences into the lives of western Pennsylvania students, educators and families. The third event in the series will occur on April 16 at the Charity Randall Theatre in Oakland; performers to be announced. The series is supported by the BNY Mellon Audience Development Fund.
RADical Days is an annual celebration among the organizations who receive funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District. From September 19 through October 24, participating libraries, parks and recreation, cultural, sports and civic facilities and programs, are offering up free admission and special events as a way to say thanks to the community for their support.