Class Acts schedule announced

By: By Kristy D. Carter -

The Class Acts Sampson CenterStage series has left a lasting impression on more than 100,000 students over the last 17 years.

According to Ray Jordan, executive director of the Sampson County Exposition Center, this year, more than 8,000 students from across Sampson County will have a chance to experience the magic and entertainment of attending one of eight live performing arts events as the new season kicks off April 10-13.

As part of the Class Acts series, students in grades first through eighth will travel from their respective schools across Sampson County to experience a variety of performances specifically selected to align with each grade levels curriculum alignment and standard courses of study.

“Performances are not only entertaining,” Jordan said, “but they also provide an opportunity for students to learn in a creative atmosphere that adds to and enhances each student’s total educational experience.”

Not only is the series educational, but students are able to attend free of charge.

Performances are made possible through the generous financial support of corporate, business, and individual sponsors from across Sampson County. Kermit Williamson, Sampson County Exposition Center Board member stated

“Many of the students from across Sampson County would not have the opportunity to attend these type performances if it were not for this series,” Kermit Williamson, Exposition Center Board member stated. “These types of events are often not possible due to the lack of funding provided for the arts in our school systems. The series adds an additional opportunity for our children, who are tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Class Acts Performing Arts Series has earned statewide recognition for not only the quality of its programming, but for the enthusiastic financial support of the local community which fully sustains this valuable program.

In an effort to assure that educational standards are being met while students step outside the classroom and into the theater, teachers and students who will attend each performance are provided with comprehensive study guides.

These study guides, Jordan explained, are designed to educate students in advance of each performance and provide teachers with a variety of topics to share with students. Study Guides also include components that are designed to foster conversation and dialogue between students and teachers, as well as among each students family following the performance covering a variety of topics including social relationships and character building.

“Each study guide is a great tool to prepare and enhance the theatre-going experience of each student,” Jordan shared.

Performances are offered to students in Clinton City Schools, Sampson County Schools and Harrells Christian Academy. In the 17 years of presenting the live shows, Jordan said more than 100,000 students have been able to attend Class Acts performances and the community has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars into the system.

7/4 Venezuela Ensemble

Performances begin April 10 with students in the seventh and eighth grades experiencing the Latin musical group 7/4 Venezuela.

The 7/4 Venezuela Ensemble was born out of the interests of seven young people belonging to El Sistema (the system) of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela. As a group, they cross the borders of academic music and immerse themselves in the wide world of Venezuelan folk music, including Latin American music and jazz.

The 7/4 Ensemble has two fundamental objectives. One is their social educational goal, which they achieve by offering educational concerts in different schools and colleges around the world; where they answer and clarify questions presented by children and youth, while encouraging them to form memories of joy through music. Secondly, as an artistic goal, they work to introduce Venezuelan and other Latin American music through their work around the world.

North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble

Students in fifth and sixth grade will attend a performance April 11 that features the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble.

The NCYTE features 40 dancers, ages 8 to 18, who hail from throughout North Carolina. These dancers tear up the floor with poise, passion and professionalism. Each performance by the NCYTE honors the traditions of this unique American form while infusing it with youthful energy, contemporary music, and innovative dances from some of the world’s most talented choreographers. The NCYTE has toured throughout the U.S. and the world, with performances in Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany and Mexico.

Billy Jonas Trio

On April 12, students in third and fourth grades will enjoy the Billy Jonas Trio, a highly interactive performance focused on music and ecology.

Using homemade and recyclable “re-percussion” instruments, Billy Jonas will introduce songs that celebrate community and explore personal and planetary ecology during this think-outside-the-box educational performance. Billy’s goal is to plant musical seeds that will help students to become creative, open-minded and engaged in ecology.

For 25 years, Billy Jonas, performer, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator has perfected the art of the neo-tribal hootenanny with a concert of original songs performed with a generous dose of audience participation. Jonas and his band perform using voice, guitar, and industrial re-percussion – homemade creations of buckets and barrels, keys and cans, bells and body percussion.

Farmer Jason

In the final show of the season, on April 13, students in first and second grade will enjoy the music of Farmer Jason, a rock musician who teaches about farm life and the wonders of nature.

Farmer Jason, the character, is based on Jason Ringenberg’s farming background and love of the great outdoors. As Farmer Jason, he has released four records and a DVD, and has also starred in the “It’s a Farmer Jason” video program airing on several PBS stations around the United States, earning him one Emmy and four Emmy nominations.

This highly acclaimed live performance will involve sing-alongs, dancing, and discussions about nature appreciation, ecology, and farm animals.

Students in seventh and eighth grades will have the opportunity to experience 7/4 Venezuela, a Latin musical group. in seventh and eighth grades will have the opportunity to experience 7/4 Venezuela, a Latin musical group.

The North Carolina Tap Ensemble will perform for students in fifth and sixth grades. North Carolina Tap Ensemble will perform for students in fifth and sixth grades.

Farmer Jason is the final performance of the 2018 Class Acts Series. Jason is the final performance of the 2018 Class Acts Series.
Eight performances slated, starting in April

By Kristy D. Carter

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.