Fall semester was kicked off with three new classes and many new students being added to the rosters!  In addition to our music lessons, Musikgarten, dance and drama classes, we welcomed many new students in our West African drumming class, our Fall craft workshop and our anticipated Dalcroze Eurythmics class!  

Dee Desnoyers, a graduate of the Drumming Instructors Program, directed by Bill Scheidt at the renowned Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy– Winston Salem (TTMDA-WS), leads a class of West African drumming on Fridays. She is also certified as a therapeutic drumming instructor through Youth Villages Inner Harbour and has completed drum circle training with Arthur Hull and Health RHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming. She has been in multiple performing groups and studied with many African and American teachers in the Atlanta Metro Area, including Tom Harris, Chuck Cogliandro and Aly Camara. The class meets on Fridays at 3:30 with a possible 4:45 class to be added for students needing later class times.  Drums are provided; so what is stopping you from joining the fun?  

Angela Graham began six craft classes this fall, including loom knitting, tie-dye / reverse dye, paper-making, hydro-dipping, arm knitting and felting bookmarks.  This class meets on Tuesdays at 4:00 and 5:30. Listen for details of our upcoming winter / spring workshops!

Dalcroze Eurythmics, created by Swiss composer Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, is a method of music education that emphasizes dance and kinesthetic rhythm games as a means of teaching various elements of music, including structure, rhythm and musical expression. Michelle Li has degrees in piano performance and psychology from Carnegie Melon U and piano pedagogy from GSU. She holds the first Georgia certificate granted to lead Dalcroze classes. We anticipate this becoming a valuable part of the Academy.

Exciting news! Our Junior Theater Festival troupe is honored to have been asked to perform a newly-released work for school ages at the upcoming Junior Theater Festival in January.  Our drama troupe has performed twice for adjudication at the JTF event and won Most Outstanding Performance both times!  The event is held at the Cobb Galleria each January and has become the largest theater festival for school ages in the world, hosting over 6,000 students!  The festival partners with Music Theater International and invites groups to debut newly-released works by MTI.  While we cannot disclose the title of the work at this time, the Smoke Rise Academy of Arts drama troupe will be the first to present a portion of this work on stage before thousands of other students.  

We will host professionals from the JTF / MTI teams for a workshop with our troupe before the January festival. While it is a tremendous honor to be asked, it comes with added work and expenses.  In addition to preparing for their adjudication performance, troupe members must add the time to prepare for the New Works performance.  Smoke Rise will be responsible for all costumes, props and set expenses for this debut performance.  Several fundraisers have helped raise money to offset lodging expenses.  As one more fundraiser, on December 10, we invite you to come enjoy a festive Holiday Showcase and browse the JTF team’s Holiday Market prior to the show. We hope you will join us and we thank you for your generous support of the Academy of Arts. Our Academy of Arts reaches hundreds of students from all around our area and has become a vital part of the Smoke Rise community.  THANK YOU!

Denise Burcham, Academy of Arts Director

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