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American Pops Orchestra, Artsbridge plan virtual concert

PARKERSBURG — The American Pops Orchestra will present “Henny Penny,” a live virtual tour for Artsbridge Artists-on-Tour in local elementary schools this week

The performance, which is suggested for K-3 students, will be presented at schools in Wood, Pleasants, Jackson and Ritchie counties in West Virginia and Belpre City Schools and Warren Local Schools in Ohio, from Nov. 16-20.

Maestro Luke Frazier, founder and conductor of APO, is a Parkersburg native and graduate of Parkersburg South High School and alumnus of West Virginia University. Frazier doesn’t spend all his time conducting American Pops. He has earned his stripes conducting across the country and abroad. He has conducted at internationally acclaimed venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The White House, The Kennedy Center and many more. He is an avid proponent of the preservation and celebration of the American Songbook, as evidenced by his orchestral programming, his iTunes playlist and his involvement on the Board of the Great American Songbook Foundation.

“It’s an honor and privilege to return for our third American Pops Orchestra tour with Artsbridge. To be able to provide a live virtual musical and theatrical experience for kids from the same schools I grew up in is something I truly treasure. I want to give to the students like so many great public school teachers gave to me as a kid,” he said.

Established in 2018, APO’s Children’s Outreach Tour has traveled to elementary schools in rural areas to share high-quality music education. This year because of COVID-19 restrictions, APO is offering a live, virtual tour for educators to use in the classroom. Ten broadcasts will be presented over the course of one week and will be offered at no cost to the schools.

The classic APO performance of “Henny Penny” is written by Broadway star and playwright Claybourne Elder. This children’s show features songs from the Great American Songbook performed by Broadway actors and professional musicians. Each performance will include a live Q&A with actors and musicians, allowing for the students to interact in real-time with the artists and musicians. This opportunity gives students the chance to experience and learn about professional performances, as well as interact with and learn directly from the musicians and artists.

Study guides are provided for teachers through Artsbridge prior to the production.

Funding for Artsbridge arts education programs is provided in part by The West Virginia Commission on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, The Ross Foundation, Fenton Foundation Inc., The Bernard McDonough Foundation, Highmark, Peoples Bank and by contributors to the Artsbridge Fund. Funding for this tour is provided by APO.

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