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Students participate in workshop focusing on performing arts field

By Staff | Mar 2, 2009

The International Young Americans Music Outreach Tour opened a three-day workshop this week at Cape Coral High School, where aspiring local students will receive world-class instruction in the performing arts.
Young Americans, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1962 by music teacher Milton C. Anderson to showcase arts in the public education system. There are 220 members of the group, and 46 are visiting Cape High until Wednesday.
“The reason they do it is to reach out to students in the community and teach them to sing and dance — to keep music alive in schools,” said Susie Freeman Johnson, production coordinator for Paramount and Young American alumni.
Johnson was involved in the group when it sang alongside Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Bob Hope. She said the program builds an unbreakable confidence in each participant.
“We have changed many youths’ lives,” she said.
The Young Americans at Cape High will teach the steps and music of the group’s original performance to an expected 150 students from 10 schools in Lee County. The show is a montage of many performing arts styles including pop music, hip-hop, choral music and ballet.
The workshop culminates in an evening performance Wednesday where one act is the Young Americans and the other includes the students.
Those from Cape Coral and other parts of the county already registered Monday afternoon for $47 after the group held a 30-minute assembly earlier in the day.
Georgia Price, manager of the visiting company, is also an alumni of the program. Now 24 years old, she toured with Young Americans for five years before signing on as manager of the group.
“I wouldn’t be the same person, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be without this program,” said Price.
Over the years the group has toured France, Germany and Ireland, as well as countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
According to Johnson, the program has changed how many music programs are operated throughout the world.
“We changed how international school systems look at the arts,” she said.
Johnson added that she is worried about a general trend across the country where schools are eliminating performing arts. Her hope is that the Young Americans can demonstrate to the community the importance of music and dance.
Tickets for the show at 7 p.m. Wednesday are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Purchase tickets after school at Cape Coral High School or on the night of the performance.
For information, visit: www.youngamericans.org.