Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CSSSA = amazing program!!

So, CSSSA (pronounced "see-suh") is the California State Summer School for the Arts, home base at CalArts my alma mater for MFA work (2001-03).   This year I am so fortunate to be a part of this honors program for CA high school arts students, making my small contribution with my collaborator, the fabulous Erinn Horton, and all the CSSSA faculty and students for that matter.   For all those CA arts students thinking about this program for next year, please visit the website and check out the "Student Gallery" section to get a sense of what it's like.   The music department this year is literally a "dream team" of artists and visionaries from all over the world and all over the musical map.  In the last week we are in the midst of our CSSSA Music Festival, a two day sharing of what we have been working on.  The vocalists' contribution is in solos and chamber ensembles in all styles - you name it!  Funk, classical, jazz, Gospel, pop, even Cuban, North Indian classical and Senegalese singing/ playing is represented.  This year we paired vocalists and pianists in an art song collaboration (collaboration of all kinds is highly valued here, as is original work/ composition/ arranging) - that show will take place tomorrow night.  We also were fortunate to visit the Theater program for a couple of days, and took Tai Chi with the actors (required training for the actors at CSSSA and CalArts during the year) - nothing like moving slowly and deliberately for over an hour to help you focus and ground the body.  It's been a pleasure and an honor working with these kids and this faculty, and right now everyone is all smiles as we experience the final program performances.