SHAK has been introducing young people to 12th-18th century music, dance, theater, and culture since 2005. SHAK empowers children and teens as transmitters of the rich cultural history of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, keeping alive the arts of past eras and sharing them with audiences of all ages. An annual fully-staged theatrical presentation, a year-round Early Music Youth Academy workshop for instrumentalists, and a variety of additional performance events in the community involve two to three dozen youth participants and reach hundreds of people in the community. All projects are accompanied by professional musicians. The kids in our musical ensembles and theatrical casts work with specialist teaching artists in music, dance, and theater, gaining a foothold in complex historical and artistic material that is otherwise not accessible in depth to young people today. Director Shulamit Kleinerman, honored with Early Music America’s Laurette Goldberg Award in 2015 for lifetime achievement in historical-music outreach, is known for her innovative youth-focused script-writing and music-arranging. Students at SHAK discover a multi-sensory experience of the past, becoming comfortable with foreign-seeming aesthetics and alternative ways of living. We believe that this experience of historical difference is a type of multiculturalism that builds students’ capacity for both empathy and innovation. With their enthusiasm and mastery, our young performers share this historical education with other young people in the audience through peer modeling.
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