Performing arts workshop coming to Clarkston

Members of the Young Americans performing arts group came through Clarkston, Feb. 3, to promote the group’s upcoming three-day workshop at Clarkston High School. Standing are Kari Wilhelm and Zoe Vitalich, kneeling are Trent Degroot and Dylan Stiles. Photo by Matt Mackinder

BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer

Interested in dancing, singing, or acting? Then three days next month may be just for you.
The Young Americans will be hosting a three-day performing arts workshop at Clarkston High School, March 22-24.
“In those three days, we teach a one-hour show,” said Young Americans member Trent Degroot. “At the end of this teaching of the variety show, we do the performance. It’s a two-act performance and the coolest thing, for me anyway, is seeing how far the kids have come in those three days. They walk in and they’re in an environment that maybe they have never been in before, never seen anything like the Young Americans experience. They are pushed and they get to grow and try new things while being supported through it. There is no support like the support from the Young Americans.”
Children from grades 3-12 can participate in the workshop for $66. Participants are separated into groups based on grade to learn age-appropriate material. The workshops run from 1:30-6 p.m. on March 22, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on March 23, and the 7 p.m. performance on March 24 with a dress rehearsal starting at 3:15 p.m.
Tickets for the performance are $12 each.
“We travel all over the world to inspire the world through music,” said Young Americans member Kari Wilhelm. “We’re really excited to do this and to get Clarkston excited for what’s coming in just a couple weeks.”
There are 250 members of the Young Americans and the non-profit group performs upwards of 450 shows per year in nearly 20 countries.
Three Clarkston graduates are part of the Young Americans, Rob Bush, class of 2015, who is the stage manager for the world tour; Garrett Tozzi, class of 2014, stage manager for the United Kingdom cast; and Carl Meyer, class of 2014, who will be back home in March as the stage manager for the Clarkston workshop.
“It’s cool to know that three of our most key players are from Clarkston and traveling around the world,” said Dylan Stiles, another Young Americans member.
To register for the workshop, visit Youngamericans.org/us and click through the list of towns until Clarkston is shown. There are scholarships available as well.
Video from the Young Americans visit on Feb. 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO9VvlAexWA
“If (the $66) is an issue, we really want to make sure it’s not a limitation for anybody,” Young Americans member Zoe Vitalich said. “All the money (for the workshop) gets cycled back into the Young Americans so we can continue doing this around the world.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been to Clarkston. We did a workshop a couple years ago in Montrose and Lake Orion and Clarkston kids came to those workshops. I’m just so excited the kids here get this opportunity in their own hometown. It’s going to be really cool. And the fact that Carl Meyer will be here as the stage manager, it’s going to be an awesome auditorium for that to happen in.”
“We believe so much in the kids,” added Degroot. “Youth sometimes isn’t portrayed the best in today’s media, but we believe in them and we want to lift them up and make them feel awesome because they are awesome using the tool of music.”
And while 42 members of the Young Americans will be in Clarkston for two nights, 21 host families are needed to house cast members during that time frame. Host families get two free tickets per family to the Tuesday night performance.
For any questions or for more information on being a host family, contact Hayley Spears with Clarkston Community Schools Community Education at 248-623-4326, extension 2.