By JEN CARDINES
The lead singer from Boogie Chillun’ paused between songs and scanned the crowd for seventh grader Junior Santos.
On Friday, Sept. 23, the band was performing at DePaolo Middle School, tracing the roots of American music from “This Land is Your Land” to Bruno Mars. It took some prodding from the crowd, but Santos joined the band on drums for an uptown funk jam session.
For the second year in a row, Santos and Boogie Chillun’ were rocking the house at an arts exposition run by Arts for Learning Connecticut (ALC). Over 45 artists filled various spaces in the building to bring a variety of entertainment and cultural education to the students.
Santos wasn’t the only one engaged by the artists, participants deconstructed their art for the students throughout the day.
“We are very fortunate to host this event,” DePaolo assistant principal Chris Palmieri said. “Our kids get to enjoy these performances and get exposure to the different arts.”
The arts expo was not exclusive to DePaolo students. Other schools from different towns and regions were welcomed in the building to take advantage of the great opportunity that ALC presented. Teachers and faculty from other districts came to get a glimpse at what they could bring back to their schools.
Palmieri noted that Southington’s central location in the state was beneficial for people to attend, and it was a great opportunity to showcase the town’s recent renovations and expansions done to improve the quality of education in the building and to better utilize the space.
Palmieri said that with the new amenities, it made sense to host the expo at DePaolo.
Throughout the day, students attended various 20 minute sessions between classes. The middle schoolers saw a wide range of performances, ranging from an actor dressed as Abe Lincoln describing his life as a Civil War President to Japanese storytelling through mime. There were contemporary a cappella music productions, Chinese cultural dancers, historical theatre, music and dance from Ghana, and much more.
ALC is the largest arts and education organization in the state, said executive director Eileen Carpinella. “We have over 45 different artists,” she said, “and we serve 86 percent of towns and cities in Connecticut.”
All of the performers bring an educational component to their act, whether it is learning about cultures around the world, elements of music, or important moments in history. The organization sees over 300,000 students every year.
For more information regarding performance offerings and schedules, visit www.aflct.org.
Photos by JEN CARDINES