TMS JAMBOREE A GREAT EVENT
It's impossible to convey how truly incredible it was to experience Telstar Middle School's ArtReach Jamboree and Student Art Sale which took place last Thursday evening at Telstar Auditorium. Those of you who were there know what I mean, and those of you who were not...I'm so sorry you missed it! Although we live in a time of extraordinary technology that offers more and more ways to communicate and “connect” with others all over the world, too often I feel as though we become more “disconnected” with those closest to us and so much that takes place “in our own backyards,” so to speak. I'm thankful to say that for anyone fortunate enough to attend last Thursday's event, this was NOT the case...it was clearly a “wonder-full connection” involving students, teachers, event volunteers, performers of all ages, and audience members.
For a number of years now many students at Telstar Middle School have been inspired and guided by their amazing art teacher, Melissa Prescott, whose dedication to creative service-learning has resulted in several projects that not only provide extensive learning opportunities for our students but also “help” others in our community and beyond. To name a few, they have honored the lovely, unforgettable Nancy Young by raising funds for the American Cancer Society, helped with the trail system between Telstar and Middle Intervale Road, established and continue with the “Got Farms” gardening project, and in December of each year Mrs. Prescott's art students have presented their “ArtReach” program. Traditionally this event has presented a student art display, with many pieces offered for sale, and also an art auction of items donated by local artists with proceeds from the sales donated to assist with various community needs. This year's event, however, replaced the “auction” with a musical “Jamboree” that featured the musical expression of older generations and to say it was a “hit” is a vast understatement!
Yes, this year's ArtReach service learning project focused on connecting students with area senior citizens. They worked on oral history interviews and related visual art projects, they investigated issues important to seniors, and worked with adults and elders on several creative collaborations. The results of their efforts were showcased Thursday evening with impressive student art displays and the musical “Jamboree” featuring student emcees and technicians and local performers, including the long-standing senior citizen based community icon, “The Richard Felt Band”! Besides outstanding performances (some of which allowed students to see some of the teacher's and administrator's astounding musical talents!) there were also fun surprises, such as a huge “flash mob” of dancers where students, teachers, and interested parties suddenly appeared from everywhere and entertained the audience with an electrifying presentation of “Gangnam Style” dancing! It was SO UPLIFTING to see students and teachers dancing together and having such fun! I'm glad to say the fun continued when Middle School students enthusiastically danced to the music of the Richard Felt Band and later joined them on stage to collaborate by singing a song with them. It was priceless to say the least...the perfect example of people of all ages brought together by the age old, tried and true traditions...music and dance!
Then, as a finale students remained on stage with the Richard Felt Band (whose performance was assisted by the Middle School's fabulous music teacher, Tom Coolidge!) while being joined by several other of the evening's performers, and audience members, to all sing “I Saw The Light,” the 1948 song written and performed by the legendary Hank Williams. Who'd have ever imagined such a thing? Thank goodness Mrs. Prescott, her students, and her volunteers did...it was awesome!
To top it all off, although no admission was charged for this event, proceeds from student art sales and donations received will be presented to the Oxford County Meals on Wheels program. The connection of ages and efforts that evening was beyond heartwarming...it was inspiring, it was hopeful, it was helpful, and to have been even a tiny part of this evening was beyond gratifying. As I've heard from so many others who were there, “We need more times like this!”
Thank you so much Telstar Middle School students, Mrs. Prescott, and all who helped with this event!