Park City Institute’s Student Outreach Program transforms the lives of Park City students by exposing them to experiential learning opportunities that support STEM, acceptance, diversity of voices, and performance opportunities. world class.
Ultimately, these programs reach virtually all high school students.
During Thanksgiving break, legendary drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Danny Seraphine of the Chicago rock band visited with students enrolled in teacher Chris Taylor’s Park City High School Jazz Band. The students came on a day off to rehearse with Séraphine. They then all performed together for a free community concert held at the Eccles Center in Park City. They received a standing ovation from the large crowd for their stellar performance.
In early December, players from The Second City – the world’s premier comedy club, comedy theater and improv school – held an improv workshop for Park City students. Local students interested in debate, drama and comedy were encouraged to participate.
The students learned more than just being funny, but the rules of improvisation, yes and… it emphasizes accepting the idea and adding to what they hear. “Yes and” tools are useful for collaboration and acceptance of different voices.
On Feb. 11, Terry Virts, a retired NASA astronaut, commander of the International Space Station, and space shuttle pilot, took center stage for a school assembly at Park City High School. Virts shared stories about the long journey to becoming an astronaut and how he overcame various obstacles to achieve his goals. Specifically, Commander Virts talked about how he struggled with writing in high school, but then worked hard to improve his writing and wrote two books. He also talked about the physics of spaceflight.
Recently, 23 music students presented a composition composed during a three-day residency with the famous chamber group Sō Percussion. Brought to Eccles at the request of Bret Hughes. This immersive outreach gave students the opportunity to collaborate with one of the best percussion ensembles in the world.
“Students leave these experiences excited about the art they have created, and they leave excited to practice their instruments and make their own art.” Hughes continued, “I think it’s important for these developing artists to see that you not only have to be exceptional musicians, but also exceptional human beings to be successful. I am so grateful to Park City Institute for taking a chance with a group like this to advance art and artistic experiences in the community.
In early May, the Dance Theater of Harlem will host a workshop with Ashley Mott’s dance class. Students will have the opportunity to work with dancers from Harlem’s famous Dance Theater. For those unfamiliar, shortly after the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Arthur Mitchell was inspired to drop everything and start a school that would provide children – especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born – the opportunity to learn dance and related arts.
Finally, we have three student interns working on the recording of the upcoming nationally broadcast show “The Professor of Rock Live!” These students gain experience working on a multi-camera, multi-track live production of a show that will be distributed on a national streaming platform. The production tasks that intern students work on include lighting design, set design, and audio production.
Teachers and administrators are busy and often resist committing limited time and resources to plan and execute these programs. In this case, the investment has paid off and is having a huge impact on our young learners by exposing them to diverse voices and world-class artists.
I want to thank the Park City School District Board and Administration for working with Park City Institute on this important initiative and especially Roger Arbabi, Chris Taylor, Bret Hughes and Ashley Mott for working with our student outreach coordinator Stacey Sayers for making this program such a success.