Americhoir Performs and Americana Winter Festival: A Multicultural Winter Celebration
By: Emilie Dyer, Americana Community Center
Arts Group: Louisville Youth Choir
What was the first day of programming like? The last day?
The participating kids were saying, “I can’t sing!” They were fidgety and distracted on the first day. On the last day of program, you could sense their pride in their work. They knew the music and were having fun as they sang favorite pieces.
What challenge have you faced this year? How did your agency/partnership solve it?
Our space is limited. Even with 55,000 square feet we have to be creative about where classrooms are going to be. Through the help of volunteer groups and the flexibility of all who were involved, we moved around a bit until we found a more comfortable space in the cafeteria. We also purchased room dividers so the space feels more contained. We were fortunate enough to receive a generous donation of a piano to support this program as well.
What is one new thing you’ve learned/observed about the relationship between the arts and the wellbeing of the students served through Kosair® this year?
Their change in self-confidence is something that can’t be missed. Through performance, the children learn to be courageous and comfortable in their ability. Even if they aren’t especially musical, to be a part of something that is presented with others at that very moment allows them to feel more confident in themselves.
Is there a moment or student transformation that sticks out to you this year? Has something surprised you?
One of our especially energetic students, Henry Htoo, can have difficulty sitting still and staying focused in many of our after school program classes, but in choir he shines. The freedom to stand up, and loudly perform through Americhoir is just the opportunity he needed to direct his energy in a positive way.
What personal outcome are you most looking forward to achieving through programming?
We are making huge strides to make Americana, a cultural oasis in South Louisville. We want the Center to be a place where our participants can practice and perform their own cultural heritage in their new found home, and extend this invitation to the neighborhood at large. We are also currently thinking creatively about how we can renovate the gym and stage so it’s better suited for professional performances that are free to our families and neighbors!
How has this partnership/programming aligned with your organization’s mission and goals for Greater Louisville?
Our vision is to create a vibrant, safe, multicultural environment for families and children with places for learning, playing, growing, sharing, socializing and connecting. AmeriChoir does just this. A prime example being their most recent performance at the Americana Winter Festival.