The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts is in our 16th year of presenting Arts Academies and Arts Integration Academies for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). These are five-day professional development seminars for teachers led by Teaching Artists and providing hands-on training that is aligned with Kentucky Academic Standards.
NEW DIRECTION: This week we have added a little twist to the Arts Academy in Corbin. All art forms are being connected by the theme of journey stories – one of the oldest and most enduring storylines. On our first day, Appalachian Storyteller Octavia Sexton, shared traditional Jack Tales and taught us about her art form.
Later that day we made the connection from storytelling with words to emotional journeys through music. Jeffrey Jamner, The Kentucky Center's Senior Director of School Programs and a concert pianist, performed short piano pieces and our audience of 31 teachers made conclusions about how both Octavia’s stories and the piano pieces unfolded – showing beginning, middle, end, rising
tension and resolution or triumph.
Below is an explanation of how musicians and storytellers alike can highlight an important moment by making it louder, and also by making it much softer, as if revealing a secret.
We concluded with a performance of a Chopin’s Nocturne in D-flat major in which pianist Jeffrey Jamner was joined by Academy music & dance faculty Jennifer Rose Escobar, who recited the poem Sixteen Measures, a poem by Rob Jamner (Jeff's son) in which he reminiscences about falling asleep as a child to the sounds of his father practicing piano. This Nocturne is one of the pieces of music he heard throughout his childhood at bedtime. Although the poem was not written to be recited with this music, Jeff and Rob discovered through experimentation that they fit together quite well to create a new, hybrid work of art. Below is a video of that performance from the Kentucky Center Arts Academy in Corbin.
Throughout the week, teachers explored journey stories through creative writing (led by Judy Sizemore), visual arts (led by Alfredo Escobar), and music & dance (led by Jennifer Rose Escobar). This is one of four professional development Academies and Institutes that we are presenting this summer for over 130 teachers from across the Commonwealth, in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education.