Reichhold Center for the Arts kicked off its family series Saturday with an "Invincible" tribute to the late King of Pop, but before the show started, local students and community members got the chance Friday to see it firsthand during a residency workshop at the Tutu Park Mall.
The residency workshops are hosted by Reichhold and the V.I. Council on the Arts, and generally targets specific student groups. This time, however, VICA made the most of of the holiday weekend – Friday was D. Hamilton Jackson day – by bringing members of the Michael Jackson tribute group to the Tutu Park Mall, where students, adults and seniors got a chance to jam along to the King’s top hits, such as the acclaimed "Thiller."
"Three or four years ago, the Council on the Arts was trying to find a way to get our students to have a different kind of experience, besides just coming to the Reichhold and seeing a show," Tasida Kelch, VICA’s special projects coordinator, said over the weekend. "So, we partnered with the Reichhold on this residency program, with student events that usually take place the Friday before the show. During this time, whatever artist or group that’s performing agrees to do a mini-performance or workshop with the kids, so they will do everything from getting up on stage and playing instruments with a band, or dancing with a whole group."
Kelch said the workshops target specific student groups – either musicians, dancers, or others that would benefit from direct interaction with the Reichhold artists.
"During these workshops, the artists really try to teach the students their craft, or give them advice on what they can do to be better, and the experience has really been great," Kelch said. "We’ve even had students go on to college and study music or dance, or acting, based on the experience they’ve had, and really, that’s what we hope to do – inspire the students and expose them to as much as we can."
Reichhold’s show took place Saturday night, with the opening of the season’s Family Series and a top-rated tribute show to the late Michael Jackson performed by artists actually sanctioned by Jackson himself. "Invicible: A Glorious Tribute to the King of Pop," looks at Jackson’s entire career, from his time in the Jackson 5 to his most recent work.
Kelch said the next workshop will be an empowerment session hosted by one of the actors from the popular off-Broadway show "Black Angels Over Tuskegee," which follows the journey of six men about to become pilots in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. The empowerment session will target local JROTC battalions with the district’s junior high and high schools.
"We hope to actually purchase tickets for some of the students to go to the show the following night," Kelch said. "So, this program is actually three fold: it gives the Reichhold more exposure for their events, it helps us to further our shared goal of exposing more students to the arts, and it inspires the students by allowing them to interact first-hand with the actors and groups. It’s a great partnership that is helping to accomplish a lot for our students."
Reichhold season line-up: http://www.reichholdcenter.com/events.html