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3/1/12 | By: Pam Little-McDaniel | Florence County School District 1
The 2012 USA Tour of the internationally-acclaimed performing troupe, The Young Americans, will stop at West Florence High School for three days this week on March 4, 5, and 6 offering a culminating performance on Tuesday, March 6. The Young Americans, a nonprofit world-wide performing and music education organization, have worked with over a half million children around the world. Known as the world’s first show choir, the Young Americans invented the “glee” concept in the early 1960’s. This opportunity is endorsed by Mark Walberg, who was honored recently by The School Foundation as Florence School District 1′s 2011 Distinguished Graduate. He is currently known for his performance as host and producer of the “Antiques Roadshow” on ETV. Walberg was a former “Young American” after college. Florence 1 students in grades 5 through 12 are invited to participate in The Young Americans Program. The workshop will be held for students beginning Sunday, March 4 at 3:30 p.m., at West Florence lasting until 9:00 p.m. On Monday, March 5, the workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. and last until 4:00 p.m. (students will be excused from classes). On March 6, the workshop will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. with show call time at 7:00 p.m. Workshop participants will be included in the show. The cost for the three day event is $57 which includes a T-shirt that will be given out the second day and is the costume for the show. Money for registration for the workshop is due by March 1st. More information about The Young Americans may be found at:, and the video link is: Students and parents who are interested should notify the local school music teacher as soon as possible to receive additional information. The workshop is supported by the Florence One Music Department and District One’s Musically Exception (DOME) program. GO TO STORY
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Young Americans dance into town - Hartlepool, United Kingdom
3/1/12 | By:
DANCE and performing arts students got the opportunity to perform with the very best as the Young Americans came to town. The talented bunch from across the pond stopped off in Hartlepool as part of their whirlwind global tour. The dancers who are hand-picked from across the world to study dance at the Young Americans College, in California, spent time with pupils at Manor College of Technology and High Tunstall College of Science, both in Hartlepool. And the town students even got the opportunity to watch the masters in action as the visitors put on an impressive display at both schools. Delighted town youngsters beamed with excitement and said they “absolutely loved” the chance to watch and perform alongside their American counterparts. Callum Rayment, 15, a Year 10 student at Manor College, said: “Just the chance to be involved with the Young Americans was absolutely brilliant. “It was so inspiring and they were really kind and friendly, we exchanged email addresses so we can stay in touch.” Fellow Year 10 student Jade Walton, 14, added: “It was fabulous. “It felt like we were all brothers and sisters, they were just so friendly.” The students at Manor College of Technology, in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, are no strangers to the Young Americans. Former student James Pattison won a coveted spot at the Hollywood school last year after impressing the stars during a visit to Hartlepool. Ellie Hopwood, performing arts curriculum leader at the school, said: “The Young Americans visit was absolutely fantastic. “They really are the very best and it’s an incredible opportunity for our students to perform alongside them.” The Young Americans are now set to carry on their tour around the UK. Fellow students from the Hollywood college are currently touring the US and others are doing their thing in Japan. As well as touring, the talented dancers perform their own shows in California. In the past the students have performed on variety shows alongside the likes of Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis and Julie Andrews. High Tunstall students and staff were delighted to welcome the Young Americans into school for the very first time. Kate Mitchell, drama teacher at the school, said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. “Their enthusiasm has been so infectious in terms of motivating our students. “Our students are already talking about getting them to come back again in the future.” GO TO STORY
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California dreaming for town's aspiring students - Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
2/24/12 | By:
THE ‘real’ Fame Academy singing, dancing and acting troupe from California was back in Gainsborough passing on its dreams to children in the town. Students from the Trent Valley Academy teamed up with the Young Americans to stage a memorable production at the Sweyn Lane school. Annual visitors for a decade since a link was forged with TVA’s predecessor Castle Hills Community Arts College, the YA contingent was working hard all week. A group of 46 visitors worked with 100 students for three days – building up to a music and dance performance. The Young Americans were founded 50 years ago to promote music and dance along with enthusiasm and optimism to make the world a better place. They have no religious or political affiliations and work with schools all over the world to generate self-confidence, teamwork and understanding. “I am grateful to the host families for providing accommodation for our American guests,” said TVA facilitator Chloe Bridge. “Anyone who saw the final performance will have been blown away by the way our students were inspired to deliver such a high quality production. “The Young Americans have been visiting Trent Valley Academy for a number of years and have made a significant contribution to the self-belief and aspirations of our students.” href=”” target=”_blank”>GO TO STORY
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Program Attracts International Campers to Fremont, NE
07/30/2011 | By: Marla Claussen
The Young Americans Performing Arts Camps at Midland University have drawn a number of young people from around the country to Fremont. The camps also have attracted international attention. Three campers from places such as Japan and Germany are attending this week’s The Entertainer Camp. Sixteen-year-old Katja Petry of Germany came to Fremont again this year after attending the camps a year ago. Petry also attended last week’s The Artist Camp. “The Young Americans have taught me so much about what life is really about, like accepting other people the way they are and accepting yourself,” Petry said. Petry said she typically is shy in school and at home, but is able to shed that when she is around members of the Young Americans, an international touring group. “The Young Americans make me try to be more open all the time,” she said. “I think a lot of it is because you don’t have to be afraid to be judged. The performance isn’t about being perfect, but showing that you’re OK with being imperfect.” Mikoto Hanabusa, a 14-year-old girl from Japan, had attended some Young Americans workshops in the past, but was eager to travel to Fremont this month to spend two weeks at the camps. She doesn’t regret the decision. “It feels like I’ve found a new person in myself,” Hanabusa said. “I feel free and easy and it’s comfortable for me. I didn’t know I could sing or dance and it’s so fun for me.” Ben Harper of New Zealand has served as an instructor during the camps. He joined the Young Americans last August after seeing them at a dance convention in his home country. “It wasn’t necessarily the talent, it was the passion in the performing that drew me in,” Harper said. Harper hopes Hanabusa, Petry and the other campers leave feeling the same way. “I’m hoping they’ll go back to countries like Germany or Japan and give hope to other people that they work with in the performing arts,” Harper said. “You don’t have to be a talented singer or dancer, necessarily. If you have the passion and the drive, you’ll have fun at what you’re doing.” The camp concludes Saturday with a 2 p.m. public performance featuring singing and dancing at Midland’s Event Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12, and are available at the door. Those under 2 will be admitted for free. Petry, Hanabusa and Harper all said they have enjoyed their stay in Fremont – with one exception. “I don’t like this weather,” Hanabusa said, “but I love the people.”
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Stories From the Road: Oxclose, England
01/23/2010 | By: Marla Claussen
For the second town my soloist in “If We Hold on Together” has been incredibly special to me. Once again I began teaching my solo by introducing myself in sign language, and once again she immediately signed her name back to me. Terri had a smile that lit up the room, you could just tell from the way she presented herself that she is an incredible person. Once I told her what her solo was, she told me that her 22 year old sister was deaf. Her sister had always been one of her inspirations as she has gone through so much but achieved such incredible things. On the night of the show she stood tall and proud as a tear ran down her face, and she signed “for you and I” with her sister sitting in the front row. After the show she introduced her sister to me. She raved about how amazing the show was and how much she enjoyed it. It really made me think about the things we take for granted, and how different my life would be if I couldn’t hear music or friends or the sounds of everyday life.
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Stories From the Road: Employee Workshop - Japan
This past workshop at the Olympic Center was populated with Employees from all over Japan including Sony, Mitsubishi, and Yamaha, whose ages ranged from the early 20′s all the way to 70! One of the most amazing to see in workshops like this is to see to same change in adults that we see in children. After we showed one of our most famous numbers, The Lion King, we talked to the participants and asked how they felt. They shared how watching Lion King made them feel like they could share emotions they never had before, live life to the fullest and even save the planet! When the night of the performance came, the “Town Adults” were more excited than I’ve seen some 15 year olds! It was a wonderful workshop that really proved that The Young Americans truly work with ages “1-100.”
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Stories From the Road: Olympic Center - Japan
Our first workshop in Japan was the International workshop. It was an awesome way to start off the tour since the international workshop was canceled during last summer’s tour as a result of the swine flu problem. In the “Singer Songwriter Medley”, we are singing a song from Simon and Garfunkel and there are 3 soloists. The first soloist was from Peru, the 2nd soloist was from the Philippines and the 3rd soloist was from the U.S.A. Also in this medley, one song written by a workshop participant was performed by the girl who wrote it and several YA members. The girl that wrote and performed the song was from Japan. Mai, from our cast, pointed that out and we were able establish a link between the participants from several different countries as they came together for their song. Heather, from our cast, met a participant girl who lived in Alaska. Heather hails from Alaska and they found out that they we’re born in the same hospital. Alisha, from our cast, grew extremely close to a particular girl in our first workshop named Jun. They had become the best of friends in just two days, and she had no idea why it was they clicked so quickly. Hours after the show, our stage manager Anders pulled out a photo and showed it to Alisha. It was a picture of her, him, and Jun, a year previous at a dance convention entitled Dance Excellence. She had no idea that she had met Jun before, nor did Jun know she had ever met Alisha. She was amazed to see that picture of them together a year ago in California, and now a year later in Japan, knowing that they will both be an important part of each others lives forever.
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Stories From the Road: Tucson, Arizona
The Young Americans do thousands of workshops all around the world. Each and every town is incredibly special, but the cast doesn’t always know the affect they have had on the students they’re teaching. The town kids of Tuscon, Arizona refused to let that be the case. After the show we were bombarded with notes from the students. Almost half the workshop had written down what the past three days had done for them and what affect the Young Americans had made on their lives forever. Here are just a few examples. —————————————————————— Dear Young Americans, Thank you so much for coming here to teach me. I had an amazing first workshop. I have wanted to do this since 5th grade when my brother was in it. You guys are amazing. I love how you all treat each other like a family and always take care of one another. You really brought of the real me: a girl who is fun, outgoing, and loves to sing an dance. When I felt bad, you all cared. You are my inspiration. Love you all, Aubrey —————————————————————— Dear Amazing, Spectacular, Fun-loving Young Americans, Thank you all sooooooooo much for coming to Oro Valley and working with us. I had a PHENOMENAL time! I’m usually not the type of person who likes to go out there and be center stage, but when I was with you I felt like I could do anything. Being with you guys was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. Thank you so much for coming to our school. I loved it!!! Sincerely, Claire —————————————————————— Dear Young Americans, I’d like to say thank you for changing my life in a way that is hard to explain. Your attitudes have inspired me to say yes to opportunities that emerge and to not let my nerves get in the way, just to go for it. I’m not that proud of my voice but I absolutely love singing because it makes me feel like I can show my feelings. In a way, I’d say singing “is the window to my soul.” Because I’m not proud of my voice, I always worry I won’t be successful in what I really want to do, which is become a musical theatre actress. It’s hard to explain how it happened, but you all have made me believe that my worries and what some people think can’t stop me from doing what I love. When you performed Lion King I thought to myself, “That’s what I want do.” I want to make a deep connection with the people I perform for. When I dance during that song I think about how I am going to do everything I can to achieve my dreams. When I think of that song I fill up with passion for what I love to do. Your presence has changed my life forever and I can only hope to see you again. Love, Makenna —————————————————————— Dear Young Americans, I can’t pinpoint one thing that makes the Young Americans so incredible. I think it has something to do with the sense of family. I have never held hands with so many random people in my life. But that’s the point, everyone coming together. Anyone can tell how much you guys enjoy what your doing. I can’t thank you guys enough for giving me the best three days of my life. You all inspire me to make something of myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience and dedication. I love you all, Hailey —————————————————————— This last letter is one written by a mother and a teacher who felt compelled enough by what the Young Americans are doing do write a personal thank you. To the Young Americans, Thank you so much for your time, energy, and generosity. By sharing your gift of music with our children, you have had a profound affect on the future. It has been an honor to be able to host Young Americans four times. In the past ten plus years, you have had an impact on our family, community and our state. Our children look up to you and wish for your bravery; you shared it, and brought it out of them. Thank you. In my classroom, I see the effects of your workshop when you are gone. One of my students had been molested, he did the workshop twelve years ago and afterward he came out of his shell, he ended up performing through our his high school career. Because of you, he no longer hid from his past but embraced the present and future. Thank you. A girl I taught was failing all of her classes; I begged her parents to put her in the workshop. Though resistant, they did. She told me thank you, then she did the most amazing thing, she did all her work. She earned straight A’s and when I saw her at the show last night, she said she was still getting straight A’s. Thank you. You had one of my former students in this workshop. He too is a kid that consistently lets himself down, fails, lies, and makes poor choices. Last night he smiled a smile I’ve never seen and I’m sure you made a difference in him too. Most of all, you have made a difference in my two children. Easton and Kayla have role models to look up to that aren’t going to let them down. You tell them they can, you show them they can and they do. It is so rewarding and confidence building. Thank you! We sincerely appreciate the compassion, kindness and love you have left behind in our community. Your gift of song warms our hearts. Thank you! Niki and Phil —————————————————————— These are only a select few of the many letters that were written to the Young Americans. We cannot begin to explain how rewarding our workshops are for the schools, the kids, the community, and the cast of Young Americans that have the honor of touring there.
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