It's never too early to introduce kids to the arts.
Ten local arts organizations, including Classical 88.7 KCME-FM, will host the Classics for Kids Festival on Saturday at The Citadel mall. The event will provide a day of free music, dance, art and performance in the Imagination Celebration space and other spots around the mall.
'It bridges one of those gaps in the community, ' said Melissa Anthony, interim development director at KCME-FM. 'Parents are so busy with things at school and don't have time to investigate outside of school opportunities for their children. The classical arts component we focus on is a unique developmental tool for children. It helps them become talented and cultured leaders for the future. '
Performing arts groups, including the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, Colorado Springs Dance Theatre and the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, will perform throughout the day. There will also be interactive opportunities for kids, including dance lessons, learning to be an orchestra conductor, art activities and an Imagination Playground provided by the Buell Children's Museum of Pueblo.
'We're trying to share the classical arts with the population, ' said Patricia Hoffman, founder and artistic director of the Ballet Society of Colorado Springs. 'We know they're not getting as much in schools as they used to, and we want to reach out and let them know it's out there in their city. We're not only training artists, but we're training audiences in the enjoyment of participating as an audience member. All the dance forms they see today came from somewhere, and it's nice to see it performed by contemporary peers of their own age. '
The Ballet Society will perform two ballets, each telling history through dance. Thirty dances by dancers ages 10-18 will present time periods from the 1500s, when classical ballet began, to present-day musical theater, Hoffman said.
The Performing Arts for Youth Organization will also bring a few of their performers. PAYO is a stable of professional artists who are invited into classrooms by teachers who hope to make the curriculum come alive.
'Performers lift the written word off the page, ' said Patti Boles, co-chairman of PAYO's board.
Student orchestras from the Thomas MacLaren School will also perform. At the public charter school, every student plays a stringed instrument and takes an hour per day of music instruction.
'We think the arts are important for all people, young and old, and to be able to interact with and get kids into it at an early age is exciting, ' said Katherine Brophy, one of the school's founders. 'We hope people feel the arts are important in society in general. Our community is better for having arts in it. These kids could grow up and be the people who patronize the arts. And the classical arts, not as many people are familiar with them, and we want to feature the classical side of things. '
Jennifer Mulson may be reached at 636-0270.