Corinna Perez Lapid wondered whether there would be arts in the classroom by the time her own daughter entered grade school.
The opera singer was so concerned that she decided to direct her talent toward preserving the music, art and drama that have played a key role in her own life.
Perez Lapid organized a benefit concert for Arts Consortium, the four-year-old Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council art enrichment program in the island’s public schools.
“Music and children are my most important interests,” Perez Lapid said. “I was looking for a venue that would touch on both, and helping the Consortium seemed like a good way.”
Last summer, the soprano invited mezzo and fellow Bainbridge Chorale member Barbara Hume to join forces to perform opera and oratorios in a benefit concert.
Hume, an island high school teacher, says she was eager to take part, both because she has seen the benefits of arts education in her own classroom, and because of her contact with a Consortium project from last year.
Last spring, Hume and Chorale debuted a work written by Wilkes fourth-graders in a Consortium workshop led by Seattle composer David Mesler.
“I was so impressed by the cooperative effort,” Hume said. “As an educator, I believe in bringing in specialists to the classroom.”
Now in its fourth year, the Arts Consortium, has grown to become the largest Bainbridge Arts and Humanities Council program.
Funded in part by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, the program is a collaboration of artists, parents, public schools, arts organizations and businesses that sponsors artist workshops in the classroom, brings elementary students to arts performance and trains teachers to integrate the arts into the general curriculum.
Bainbridge first received funding in 1999 to bring dance and drama into Soniji Sakai Intermediate School. In 2000-01, the program expanded to include field trips to productions at Bainbridge Performing Arts.
A+ in the arts
Last year, WSAC awarded the Consortium $20,000 in recognition of its successes, money that went toward expanding the program to K-6.
The $26,000 allocated by WSAC for the current year – the second-highest amount awarded statewide – is being used to underwrite numerous arts activities for Bainbridge elementary students this year, including: 25 field trips to Bainbridge Arts and Crafts exhibits and 40 field trips to dance at Bainbridge Dance Center; six classrooms visits by a local composer and four by wind musicians; 25 classroom visits by performing artists from BPA and Susan Anderson of Drama in Education.
As the program approaches what could be the last year of WSAC money, finding private and school funds and training general education teachers is a priority.
“Empowering teachers to be able to have the arts in the classroom without having a special event is really important for us, so that’s the professional development side,” said Consortium program director Wendy Hall. “And we have $10,000 in funding from the schools for the first time, in addition to ongoing support from the PTOs.”
The upcoming benefit is the first Consortium fund-raiser. “We’ve always wanted to do a benefit,” said Hall, “but we’ve always been too busy running the program itself.”
With their WSAC funding for 2003-2004 contingent on an evaluation this year, Consortium organizers are eager to educate the public about the program.
“They haven’t written a check yet,” Hall said. “So this concert is crucial for us.
“We have to demonstrate that we have community support.”
Corinna Perez Lapid, soprano, Barbara Hume, mezzo soprano, and Jim Quitslund, pianist, present “A Gift of Opera and Oratorio,” a concert of works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Delibes, and Puccini to benefit the Bainbridge Island Arts Education Community Consortium, an arts enrichment program in Bainbridge public schools.
The concert will be held 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for students/seniors, available through Vern’s Winslow Drug, Winslow Hardware and Mercantile, The Glass Onion or at the door.
Information: 842-7901 or email@example.com.