Detroit Public Schools showcases student talent at 41st annual An Evening of Fine Arts

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-8401

Before violinist Regina Carter, flautist Eric Lamb and saxophonist James Carter became world-renown musicians, they were student performers in Detroit Public Schools’ An Evening of Fine Arts.

For the last 40 years, the district has showcased its top talents in music, art, drama and dance during An Evening of Fine Arts, with many of them eventually rising to the top of their chosen crafts.

That strong legacy is sure to continue with the 41st annual An Evening of Fine Arts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday May 20 at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

“DPS consistently produces very talented students in the arts,” said Ben Pruitt, supervisor in the DPS Office of Fine Arts. “The public deserves to see them, and the students deserve the opportunity to present their talents on stage at the Fox Theatre.”
For the first time ever, an elementary school ensemble will perform, along with groups from Detroit School of Arts, Cass Technical, Mumford, Martin Luther King, Renaissance, Southeastern high schools.

The Combined Elementary String Ensemble includes children ranging in age from 5 to 8 years old. They attend Shulze, Vernor, Barbara Jordan, Pasteur and MacDowell elementary schools. The young violin students are taught using the Suzuki method of instruction, which touts heavy parental participation in student instruction.

Other ensembles to perform include:

The Renaissance symphony band and saxophone quintet, fresh off a European tour in which they wowed crowds in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland
The Martin Luther King High Jazz Band, a new band that includes students who played during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. This group will be headed to Atlanta for the 2010 Battle of the Bands, and they will have a surprise guest appearance by an international jazz recording artist.

The Cass Tech Dance Workshop, a high-energy show reminiscent of companies like Alvin Ailey and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The Southeastern Dance Workshop, in its third consecutive appearance at An Evening of Fine Arts.

The Detroit School of Arts Orchestra and Combined Chorus, an orchestra and chorus of 150 students

Visual art created by DPS students will be displayed throughout the Fox Theatre, including artwork by Brianna Johnson, a Cass Tech senior whose work appears on the poster advertising this year’s show.

The pool of talent throughout the district is so deep that ensembles must audition to take part. This year early arrivals to the show will be treated to performances by ensembles that missed the cutoff for inclusion in the main show. They will perform in the lobby prior to the evening’s main attraction.

The event is free, but tickets are required for admission. For tickets, call (313) 873-7695.

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