Idyllwild Arts Summer Program blends media stars with tradition

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Kealoha, Hawaii’s first Poet Laureate, will present his epic creation poem “The Story of Everything” as the opening event of the Native American Arts Festival for the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. The event, open to the public, takes place at 6 pm. Sunday, July 3, on the Cargill Commons on the IA campus.Photo by Michi

Kealoha, Hawaii’s first Poet Laureate, will present his epic creation poem “The Story of Everything” as the opening event of the Native American Arts Festival for the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. The event, open to the public, takes place at 6 pm. Sunday, July 3, on the Cargill Commons on the IA campus. Photo by Michi

In its 70th year, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program again blends media stars with tradition, recalling the early years when celebrity artists taught and mixed with students.

Manhattan Transfer’s Alan Paul, one of the founding members of the multi-Grammy, award-winning jazz vocal group, will mentor high school workshop students in tight-harmony vocal arrangements and singing styles.

Jeff Marx, 2004 Tony-award winner for Best Score for “Avenue Q,” will teach a master class with the Summer Program’s song and dance students. Marx expressed interest in coming to Idyllwild Arts to mentor students because he had been mentored at a summer camp — by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim.

Laura Hall, musical improviser known for the TV improv hit “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” will teach, with husband Rick, an improv workshop during Family Camp.

Hollywood visual effects artist and film editor Jonathan Alvord will teach as part of the summer film department’s offerings.

M.I.T. graduate, Hawaii’s first Poet Laureate and slam poetry artist Kealoha will meet with IA Academy Creative Writing Chair Kim Henderson’s writing workshop. Kealoha is a rock star poet in Hawaii. He will present his epic creation poem “The Story of Everything” outdoors at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3, at the IAF Theatre.

The presentation, which traces humanity’s origins from the Big Bang to now, using science, poetry, storytelling, movement, music, chanting and visual art, is open to the public. “The Story of Everything” will be the opening event of the Native American Arts Festival, said Heather Companiott, director of the IA Summer Program Adult Arts Center. “The festival theme is ‘ARTificial Borders,’ a broad theme looking at real and imagined borders and boundaries. Kealoha includes science and traditional stories in his presentation, crossing an artificial border between art and science. Kealoha is also our first Hawaiian participant in the Native American Arts Festival.”

Tim Seelig, artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, renowned educator, conductor, performer and recording artist, will offer a master class as part of the summer choral program. Dr. Seelig’s recordings have won multiple awards and have been on Billboard Top Ten and iTunes Top Ten classical charts.

IAA Director of Programs Mark Davis also noted a return to tradition by restoring a contemporary version of what was once a Summer Program staple — the Song Circle. There are historical photographs from the Summer Program’s early days showing Pete Seeger leading the Song Circle. “We’ll be having a kid-friendly barbecue on Cargill Commons on Wednesdays as well as an open-mic session with microphones set up on the steps leading to Lowman Hall,” said Davis. “Jason Hammond, our summer seasonal staff, will act as ringmaster for the every-Wednesday event beginning on July 6. It’s planned as an integration of kids and adults reaching back to our early traditions and giving it a modern spin.”

Noted Native American artists Manuel Chavajay, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, X Alfonso and Ursula Johnson are the headline artists featured in the Festival Week Exhibit.

The Summer Program began Monday, June 20, and will, as it has for many years, present programs for adults and children throughout the summer, concluding on Aug. 14 with a Festival Choir and Chamberfest Orchestra performance at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Catalogues are available on campus detailing classes, workshops and events offered throughout the summer. Consult www.Idyllwildarts.org for more information.

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