Educators' workshop sets stage for Smithsonian exhibit

June 3, 2011 1:19:00 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Area teachers are in for hands-on enjoyment with a free June 18 workshop paving the way for "New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music." The Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, to be hosted Oct. 28-Dec. 10 by the Columbus Arts Council (CAC) at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, will encompass an array of entertaining and educational events throughout the fall. The workshop will inform teachers about the exhibit and opportunities for their students. 


"Columbus is proud to be one of six selected sites in Mississippi to host this exciting exhibit," said Beverly Norris, who is helping coordinate the workshop at the Arts Center at 501 Main St. 


New Harmonies is a rich visual and aural introductory study of the original roots of American music -- Native American, European, sacred and gospel, African, blues, bluegrass and country.  


"It''s impossible to explore this music and its development without, in turn, learning so much about the history of mankind, regionally, nationally and globally," Norris said.  


Because of the exhibition''s inherent value in helping school-age children develop a personal interest in history through its association with music, several special events, including class tours and performance participation, are planned for fall.  




Calling all educators 


The June 18 workshop will be led by Dr. Charlotte Tabereaux, education director of the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts in Meridian. 


"The exhibit is going to be hands on; students will be able to pick up a washboard and play it, feel what a banjo is really like, really explore the roots music of our nation," said Tabereaux. "In the workshop, we''ll be able to provide things a teacher can take back to the classroom and immediately use with students this fall, either before or after they view the exhibit." 


Like the exhibit and its related events, the workshop will employ arts integration -- music, movement, visual arts and drama. Dr. Bob Damm of Mississippi State University will also involve workshop participants in an interactive presentation on world percussion. 


How to go 


The free workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. qualifies for a .5 continuing education unit and has been endorsed by the Columbus city and county schools'' administration. It also includes a complimentary lunch.  


A minimum of 25 educators is needed to hold the workshop. Deadline for registration is Friday, June 10. To register, contact the CAC at 662-328-2787, or email [email protected]  


"We''re very anxious to work with schools to involve teachers and young people in New Harmonies," Norris stated. And, Tabereaux added, "the workshop is going to be a lot of fun."

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.