Charter Oak, Police, Partners In Music For Boys

Charter Oak Cultural Center and the Hartford Police Department are partners in two new music classes designed to reach out to middle school boys.

“Good Vibrations” is a pilot program offering two, 12-week classes for middle school boys, chosen by community resource officers from the police department. Classes are free and so are all the materials needed, including musical instruments. Music & Arts, the largest  band and orchestra retailer in the U.S., generously donated the guitars.

The program has two goals: To bring young people who have had encounters with the police or have been referred by their principal to a School Resource Officer, the opportunity to enrich and transform their lives through the magic of music; and to nurture a positive relationship among the police, youth and their families.

In the Rap Poetry/Recording class, 15 boys will learn about rap composition and performance, music arrangement and basics of production, leading to students recording their own CDs.  Khaiim the RapOet, aka Self Suffice, is a Trinity College graduate who has been teaching in the Hartford schools, and at Charter Oak, is one of the teachers.  Damian Curtis, aka King Solomon, a Hartt School graduate, will teach recording engineering.

The other class, in guitar, will be offered to eight boys. Students will be able to take their guitars home to practice. When a student finishes the 12-week course he can keep the guitar.

The guitars are generously donated by Music & Arts, the nation’s largest retailer of student instruments. Connecticut Music & Arts retail stores are in West Hartford, East Hartford, Avon, Vernon, Waterford and Fairfield.

Orice Jenkins, jazz/hip hop singer-songwriter and a composition student at the Hartt School will teach with  Hector “Tito” Rivera, a graduate of the Hartford Conservatory of Music and Manchester Community College.


Project Poetry Live!

Public Performance of Project Poetry Live! – a multi-disciplinary performance project created by Vita West Muir and Litchfield Performing Arts. Bringing together students from the Renzulli Academy and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, the final performance features an original performance work created by choreographer Matthew Westerby, composer Albert Rivera and set designer Lydia Heubenthal. The performance work is inspired by poetry written by students under the direction of renowned poet Kate Rushin.
The  performance features the Matthew Westerby Company, a New York-based dance company, performing repertory works and Connecticut premieres, while the Albert Rivera Quartet performs Rivera’s original jazz compositions. Special guests – the ATTAK Company.
Don’t miss this exciting, wonderful performance by world renowned artists and local middle schoolers in a one of a kind arts-in-education program created by a Connecticut arts pioneer.

Thursday | April 9| 7 to 9 pm

Public Performance of Project Poetry Live! – a multi-disciplinary performance project created by Vita West Muir and Litchfield Performing Arts. Bringing together students from the Renzulli Academy and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, the final performance features an original performance work created by choreographer Matthew Westerby, composer Albert Rivera and set designer Lydia Heubenthal. The performance work is inspired by poetry written by students under the direction of renowned poet Kate Rushin. The  performance features the Matthew Westerby Company, a New York-based dance company, performing repertory works and Connecticut premieres, while the Albert Rivera Quartet performs Rivera’s original jazz compositions. Special guests – the ATTAK Company. Don’t miss this exciting, wonderful performance by world renowned artists and local middle schoolers in a one of a kind arts-in-education program created by a Connecticut arts pioneer. Buy tickets here


Read It & Sleep

Chiedza Rodriquez, who works with agencies to  help young people, will read “The Gift of Nothing” by Patrick McDonnell, who created the comic strip “Mutts.”  The story about Mooch the cat who wants to find a gift for his friend, Earl the Dog, illustrates the best present is friendship.

Wear your cozy clothes and bring the adults in your life to “Read It and Sleep.”
Enjoy piping hot chocolate and tasty cookies.
The first 25 families take home a free copy of the book.
Eventbrite - Read It & Sleep


17th Annual Ted Hershey Dance & Music Marathon

Saturday | April 11 | 7 pm

The 17th Annual Ted Hershey Dance & Music Marathon Concert features dance companies, choreographers and schools in a signature celebration of Hartford’s rich, culturally diverse dance community. It celebrates the life and work of Ted Hershey, principal dancer with Hartford Ballet and co-founder of Works Contemporary Dance, who died of AIDS in 1998.

Photo of Ted Hershey by John Long/The Hartford Courant
Eventbrite - Ted Hershey Dance Marathon


New Montessori Parent/Infant Class

A Montessori education is among the best in the world. Charter Oak’s Montessori program will encourage ways to promote language, movement, independence and self-discipline. Help to support your child’s natural curiosity and developmental needs.
Charter Oak with the support of Christ Church Cathedral is offering free classes to Hartford parents and their infants. Each class will provide 8 instructional hours for parents and their non-walking children, plus an additional 4 hours just for the parents.
The classes will be taught by Kathy Aldridge, a veteran teacher from the Montessori School of Greater Hartford.
Additional support for these classes is provided by the City of Hartford Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation and the Capitol Region Education Council.
The two-hour classes run weekly beginning April 24. Information: Susan Mazer, 860-310-2590 or susan.mazer@charteroakcenter.org.


BOTS Classes: Poetry, Communications,Blogging

New Classes Start March 25, April 8 and April 20

The BOTS Center for Creative Learning offers free classes for the homeless community.  Those who complete 12 courses are eligible for an annual May graduation and can quality for college courses.

The Basics of Poetry is in progress.  Kala Mickens’ class introduces students to the structural and form techniques that distinguish poetry from prose and verse.  The focus is on how to craft a poem through imagery, metaphors and diction, while incorporating the basics of grammar, punctuation, and the use of white space on a page.

Kala Mickens, a student at the University of Hartford, has worked with New England poet John L. Stanizzi. She has been writing and studying poetry since grade school.

The classes are held at  Charter Oak, 21 Charter Oak Ave., Hartford.  Remaining class dates are  Monday March 30, noon to 2 pm, and Wednesday April 1, 10 to noon.

Morgan Ferrarotti will teach Communications Enhancement, which covers presentation, writing, interpersonal skills and listening. Students are expected to improve, apply and demonstrate these skills.  Ferraroti is the director of community investments at The Hartford.

Classes run Wednesday April 8, Friday April 10, Wednesday April 15, and Friday April 17, 10 to noon at Charter Oak.

Blogs and blogging follows, taught by Rachel Gary, communications manager of the Hartford Public Library.  Set up and design your own blog. Learn to post or add text, images, music, videos and link to other web sites and blogs.

Classes are held at the Library, 500 Main St.

Information: Judy Cook, BOTS director, 860-310-2591.


Afarin Rahmanifar: Unraveling Stories

Show Runs Through May 1

Afarin Rahmanifar was born in Tehran, Iran, and received her Masters of fine Arts from the University of Connecticut. Her work is shaped by the intersecting points of eastern and western cultures.  She specializes in painting and mixed media and in Persian miniature illustration.

Her show, “Unraveling Stories: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Female Identities,”  runs March 17 through May 1.  Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am through 5 pm or by appointment. Information: 860-310-8014. Read Susan Dunne’s Hartford Courant story here
Eventbrite - Afarin Rahmifar: Unraveling Stories
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