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African drummer inspires Spartanburg students

[caption id="attachment_2980" align="aligncenter" width="680"]Drummer Moussa Bolokada Conde at Pine Street Elementary School Moussa Bolokada Conde, a world renowned drummer and teacher, plays  a goblet-shaped African hand drum called a djembe as he leads a group of students and teachers in a performance at Pine Street Elementary School in Spartanburg.  Photo by Michael Justus, Spartanburg Herald-Journal.[/caption] Renowned djembe player Moussa Bolokada Conde joined the fourth-grade drumming club at Spartanburg's Pine Street Elementary School for a quick performance and lesson last fall. His visit was the result of an invitation by the school’s African drumming instructor, Andrew Moore. As a visiting artist, master drummer Conde has been leading the club of fourth-graders since shortly after the school year began. The club was funded through grants, including an Arts Curricular Innovation Grant from the S.C. State Department of Education, an Arts in Basic Curriculum Advancement Grant from the S.C. Arts Commission and a McDonald’s Creative Kids Grant.  A native of West Africa, Conde has spent the past few years performing and teaching in the United States and has plans to settle in Greenville, S.C. “I think they are learning to work together,” Moore said of his young musicians. “They have to listen to play the music well. And when they play the music well, it makes them so happy.” “He’s come a long way to come and play with us,” said fourth-grader and drumming club member Drew Chynoweth, 9. “I’ve always wanted to be a drummer.” Pine Street recently was recognized by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a recipient of its National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award for the 2012-2013 school year. The award recognizes successful arts programs and the integration of the arts as an essential aspect of the school curriculum. The drumming club, and Conde’s visit, are part of Pine Street’s arts infusion focus. Read more at GoUpstate.com. Via Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Nine high school students advance to state Poetry Out Loud finals

Congratulations to the finalists in South Carolina's 2012-2013 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest! All nine students advance to the March 16 state finals to compete for South Carolina's spot in the Poetry Out Loud national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. Region 1: Upstate

  • Ashley Kiley, Crescent High School, Anderson County
  • Ashley Tisdale, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Justin Fox, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County
Region 2: Midlands
  • Brandon Ellison, Ridge View High School, Richland County
  • Kynnedi McManus, Strom Thurmond High School, Edgefield County
  • Jada Daniels, Westwood High School, Richland County
Region 3: Lowcountry
  • Sarah Moody, Ashley Hall, Charleston County
  • Katherine Murchison, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • Whitaker Gannon, Hilton Head Preparatory, Beaufort County
Students participated in one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Sumter, and Charleston Jan. 12-13. The state finals will be held March 16 at the Columbia Museum of Art, and the state champion will compete in the national finals April 29-30 in Washington, D.C. Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship. The South Carolina Arts Commission works with several partners to produce Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina: the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel, Hub City Writers Project (Upstate) the Sumter County Cultural Commission and the University of South Carolina Sumter Division of Arts and Letters (Midlands), and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (Lowcountry). For more information, visit the South Carolina Arts Commission's website, the national Poetry Out Loud website, or contact Frances Kablick Keel.