Musical travelers from New York City’s Bridge Arts Ensemble (BAE) made stops
at each Niskayuna elementary school this week, to put on shows and hold
workshops with the students.
During the shows, students actively listened and interacted with the performers. Eyes wide and bouncing to the beat, their excitement was almost too much to contain. Shaleah Adkisson who plays “Melody,” the host of the show, guided students through an interactive concert during which they were encouraged to sing and dance along with the music.
“Music is one of the very few things across cultures, races and genders, where everybody can find something they like,” Adkisson said after a performance. “And when we can fuse that with learning, it’s so much more profound.”
BAE troupe member Sam Nester agreed.
“Part of this organization is the element of teaching, giving something more than just that concert experience,” Nester said.
The BAE is comprised of some of New York City’s best musicians including members of Carnegie’s Ensemble Connect, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York Philharmonic Teaching Artists, as well as current and former cast members of Broadway, off-Broadway and national touring productions. Their goal is to expose kids to different musical styles such as Broadway, jazz and reggae and connect the arts and education.
Steven Herring plays “Melody Two” in the show. He said he particularly enjoys seeing students have that “ah-ha” moment at a performance.
“As teaching artists, we help people think about things differently,” Herring said. “They say, ‘I never thought of it like that.’ It’s that little nugget of ‘Oh wow, it doesn’t always need to be this way.’”
When asked to identify their favorite part of the event, multiple students agreed, “All of it!”