Two Rivers Community School Celebrates Artist in Residency ‘OrisiRisi’ African Folklorist Group

Published Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 11:57 am

On Wednesday, May 4, Two Rivers Community School celebrated its Artist in Residency with a performance in front of 60 families and friends. For four days, the African Folklorist group, OrisiRisi, involved students in Nigerian songs, dances, instruments, and art. The Artist in Residency was made possible through the Grass Roots Grant from the Watauga County Arts Council. The Council and Two Rivers recognizes the benefit of hosting a multi-cultural artist and the value of facilitating a shared experience in the arts for students.

Two Rivers Community School students celebrate African Folklorist group "OrisiRisi."

Two Rivers Community School students celebrate African Folklorist group “OrisiRisi.”

The Nigerian born folk-artist, Adetutu Harrell, and music scholar and performing artist, Don Harrell, co-produce, direct, and perform Orisirisi. For four days, every student received instruction and practice in the performing arts of music, dance, and storytelling. On the final day of the residency students performed a live show exhibiting the different music, dances, and storytelling shared by Orisirisi. It was a hands-on and interactive experience for every student.

Not only was this a cultural education experience for students, but it carried tones of morality and social justice as well. Kindergarten parent, James Jones, says, “I liked what Don said during the final performance, “The only time you should look down on someone, is when you’re reaching down to lift them up.” I think all of humanity would benefit if they spoke that mantra every day.” Overall, the experience left an impactful memory on students and families alike.

EC Director, Sallie Arnold, adds,” The joy of OrisiRisi is that they are musicians and storytellers. With their music and stories, they draw [our community] into a culture that is new to many, but valuable for all. [Students] learn to work together to create a sound, an ambiance, a spirit. A sense of community is brought into focus with cooperative learning and the bonding nature of music.”

The schoolwide residency allows for the entire school community to connect with a shared experience in the arts. It’s a unique experience at Two Rivers and is what separates the student experience from traditional school settings. The school is proud to provide the program and thankful to the Watauga County Arts Council for recognizing the residency’s benefit to Watauga County’s cultural fabric.

Founded in 2005, Two Rivers Community School is a tuition-free, K-8, public-charter school located in Boone, NC. The Two Rivers curriculum challenges students with dynamic learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. Academics are at the core of every opportunity provided with the expectation that students grow in both character and in intellect during their time at Two Rivers. This year the school’s enrollment is 178 students with spaces open for next school year in certain grade levels. If you would like to learn more about Two Rivers Community School, please contact Beth Vossen at 828-262-5411 or email at [email protected]

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