The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) and the National Institute of the Arts (NIA) have joined forces to stage their summer musical next week Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 at the Philipsburg Cultural Center at 7pm.
The production entitled, Anansi and the Great Salt Pond was penned by talented, young St. Maartiner, Iris Hakkens and was adapted by NIA Co-Directors, Clara Reyes and Arlene Halley, specifically for this musical. The story teaches youngsters to preserve their cultural heritage and to take care of their environment. “I think programs like these provide students with an opportunity to be constructively engaged during their summer break. At the National Institute of the Arts we provide the students with an opportunity to hone their skills and talents and to experience firsthand what the artist experience is like in a dance studio. This musical sends a strong message about the Salt Pond and students learn to be more aware, appreciative, and more environmentally conscious of the world they live in,” stated Halley. Some 20 children representing various elementary and high schools, ages 9-15 have been engaged in daily, 5 hour, intensive workshops in dance, vocal technique, character development, choreography and musical staging at NIA’s dance studio at the John Larmonie Center. NIA instructors, Clifford Henry and Rudolph Davis have been facilitating the dance workshops, while Reyes has provided the direction for the script and workshops in vocal performance and character development. “The first week, I focused my training on diction, vocal exercises, and technical development. The next two weeks will be about fine tuning their repertoire and staging. During the preparation of this production, I have allowed and encouraged the youngsters to make mistakes. The beauty of making mistakes at this stage, is that the experience creates a space for true learning to happen. That is where their character is developed and they learn to perfect their artistic abilities,” stated Reyes. Weekly digital multimedia classes are also given, as part of the summer musical program by Activity Manager, Morenika Charles-Arrindell, at the Library’s newly built DigiKidz Media Lab room in Animoto, an online program that teaches children to merge photos and videos into a movie. “I am very impressed with how much the children have grown artistically since I first saw them at the auditions for this musical in June. We are grateful that we could partner with NIA on this project to create a production that I know St. Maarten will be proud of. This will be the third time the Library has put on a summer musical and I’m encouraging the population of St. Maarten to come out and support some of the most talented students with their presence on Friday July 25 and Saturday, July 26,” stated Activity and Public Relations Manager, Morenika Charles-Arrindell. PJL and NIA’s Summer Musical intensive started on July 2 and will continue until July 24, when it will be concluded with a concert in which the children will show off their new and improved skills in 2-nights of concerts, at the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Center on Friday, July 25, 2014 and Saturday, July 26 at 7pm. The Anansi and the Great Salt Pond summer musical was made possible through funding from Seven Seas Water, Dutch Representatives, NAGICO Insurances, Orco Bank, Heavenly Water NV, and TLC Trading. Photo Caption: Summer Musical participants during their dance Workshop at the National Institute of the Arts