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Preview: Columbus Performing Arts Showcase

Chris Sunami Chris Sunami Preview: Columbus Performing Arts ShowcaseTransit Arts Dance Crew with Mayor Coleman at TEDxYouth.
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Transit Arts Dance Crew with Mayor Coleman at TEDxYouth.

After a year of planning, the first of a month and a half of 200Columbus Invitational Arts Competition events is less than a week away! Here’s a sneak preview of The Performing Arts Showcase: August 25th, 7pm, at the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave, just east of the Main Library.

First up, Billy Two Shoes, a popular and fun-loving local collective of bluegrass musicians who describe their music as “Americana with a twist”.   Their performance tonight includes core members Josh Coy, Josh Lawson, Sean Jenkins and James Gettles. They donate 100% of their profits to food banks in Southern Ohio.

Next, Locality 2012, a Columbus Bicentennial “supergroup” made up of a diverse cross-section of local professional dance artists who are dedicated to celebrating the beautiful spaces of Columbus through the lens of dance.  Their presentation is ‘Hat Dance,’ a solo performed by Nicole Garlando and choreographed round-robin style by the other six members of the Locality 2012 committee, Gamal Brown, Lindsay Caddle LaPointe, David Jon Krohn, Laura Puscas, Jessica Tupa and Meghan Western. Locality 2012 is supported by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, Chase Bank, and 200Columbus.

Third, New Harvest Urban Arts Center, the home of many plays created and performed by Columbus locals (including noted poet and frequent collaborator Is Said). They have a commitment is to bridging the gap between arts and the community. They also operate the New Harvest Urban Cafe and Community Garden. Their presentation “A Place to Remember” is an excerpt from a musical stage play written by Stefanie Moss directed by Herb Jones, and commissioned by the Ohio Historical Society for the Columbus Bicentennial.

Gamal Brown, David Jon Krohn, Jessica Tupa (purple top), Nicole Garlando, Laura Puscas, Lindsay Caddle LaPointe (in all black), Meghan Western LOCALITY 2012 (dancer).

The last act before intermission is Transit Arts, one of the most respected and visible community-oriented arts organizations in Central Ohio. Transit Arts matches professional artists with inner-city youth as part of their mission to transport young people to a place of discovery through a wide variety of interactive, multi-disciplinary arts workshops.  A wide cross-section of past, present and future Columbus artists have connections with either Transit Arts or its predecessor program, CAPAcity, including national act and former reality television stars Fatty Koo.  Transit Arts is represented by its hip-hop dance troupe, as led by acclaimed local DJ BHB.

The second half of the program starts strong with Harmony on the South Side, the music outreach ministry of Community Development For All People.  Harmony primarily offers free concerts and workshops with professional musicians to the South Side neighborhood in drug and alcohol-free settings, but is represented at the Invitational by its all-volunteer Open Mic program which offers free vocal and instrumental lessons to inner city youth and adults.

Next up, folk, classical and jazz selections by the youth violinists of the Suzuki Music Center of Central Ohio, which follows the child-centered philosophy of Japanese master teacher Shinichi Suzuki.  One of their featured performers is Camie Howes, the daughter of internationally acclaimed jazz violinist Christian Howes (himself a former student of SMCCO’s legendary lead teacher, Ginny Christopherson). Other performers are Sarah Kim and Caleb and Chewy Koo, with accompaniment by G. Scot Ashton.

Next is Bread & Circus Theatre Company, one of central Ohio’s best respected independent theater groups. They operate as a completely volunteer organization, with shows that are generally suitable for all ages.  Their presentation is an excerpt from “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani, with actors Kathy Hyland and Joe Cherubino.

Caleb (age 10) and Mathias Koo (age 8) of SMCCO.

The show closes with the thunderous music of the mighty Saints Drumline, which engages youth from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds through the discipline of marching style percussion.  The Saints Drumline fosters a peaceful learning environment with respect, cooperation, diligence, and collaboration as its foundation.

Remember, this is a competition, and the audience vote counts! Show up to support your favorite! Tickets are only $5 for students, starving artists and anyone else who needs a break. General admission is $10 with “Patron of the Arts” tickets at $20. Any profits will go directly to the performers. Tickets are available online at columbus.invitationalarts.org or at the Upper Cup Coffee Co., 79 Parsons Ave. Hurry, they are going fast!

Open Mic: From left, Randy Ira, Jimi McNabb, Katelin Hansen, Gloria Ira, Heath Woodruff, Paul Parker, Aretha Phipps.

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