Summer has officially begun in the eyes of three Schenectady County organizations.
After teaming up to create a new summer arts program for community members, the Schenectady Light Opera Company, Schenectady County Senior and Long Term Care and Schenectady ARC held a kick-off celebration for their program, Tapping into the Arts, on Thursday morning.
The summer program is “an innovative arts education program with a special focus on Schenectady County’s active seniors, youth and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
“What we are designing really is a variety of three-day mini-courses and workshops from June through August this year that are designed really to lead and learn about art, music, dance and drama as well as theater and all of the performance skills,” said Robert Harrison, president of the SLOC board. “This is an opportunity for active and experienced performing adults and seniors to interact with youth and all of those with developmental disabilities through an intergenerational arts and performing arts approach, and that’s a really exciting thing.”
The Tapping into the Arts program began to pick up steam six months ago when the three organizations came together to collaborate on a new arts program for the summer. Schenectady County gave the three organizations two grants to help fund the program. As Tapping into the Arts began to draw more interest and excitement, the three organizations were given another grant from the Community Foundation of the Capital Region to help fund the new program through the fall and winter in an attempt to make it a year-round program.
“The arts are a wonderful thing to unleash our creativity. It makes you feel good,” said Karen Johnson, vice chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature and chairwoman of the legislature’s Committee on Senior and Long Term Care.
Thursday’s activities included the opportunity to meet the teachers, sign up for classes, ask questions; and even view performances by Tim Primeau of the Schenectady ARC and the Joytones in SLOC’s theater.
“There’s a wide variety of classes,” said Laurie Bacheldor, manager of Schenectady County Senior and Long Term Care. “I think what’s exciting about this is that it’s really crossing a lot of disciplines, seniors, youth and individuals with disabilities, and with that challenge is how to run these kinds of unique classes.”
Premeau performed a dance from “Swan Lake” while the Joytones, a choral group consisting of people with diagnosed memory disorders and their caregivers, performed three songs including a rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The chorus was lead by Douglas Long.
The first of 10 classes to begin this summer through Tapping into the Arts is “Live Life Through Dance” at 10 a.m. June 19. All classes are $10 per session.
Class registration forms are available at www.schenectadycounty.com/TIA.