Kalamazoo Civic to Host Free Creative Workshops for Area Youth and Teens

KALAMAZOO, MI – Calling all poets, comedians, musicians and dancers.

Kzoo Parks and Kalamazoo Civic are teaming up to host a series of free creative workshops this summer for youth and teens ages 10-16 in Kalamazoo.

The workshops will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday from June 15 to July 20 and will be taught by creative professionals on topics including music, improvisation, poetry and dance, according to a press release from Kzoo Parks.

All workshops will be held at the Kalamazoo Civic Auditorium, 426 Park St. in downtown Kalamazoo. Pre-registration is required and available online at www.kzooparks.org/creativeworkshops.

The topics are:

June 15: Musical creations: This workshop creates the opportunity for young people/teenagers to develop an individual style by applying various concepts and techniques to express their own ideas using melody, harmony, rhythm, improvisation and lyrics. Participants have the opportunity to bring the music they have been working on and present it at the end of the workshop. The workshop is hosted by Yolonda Lavender, a Kalamazoo-based singer-songwriter, curator, composer, arranger and performer whose sound is based on soul with gospel, R&B, hip-hop, blues and jazz influences.

June 22: Think on the spot: This workshop teaches creative ways to think on the spot, create characters, test memory, and build confidence with stage presence and public speaking. It’s hosted by Crawlspace Comedy Theater, which brings improv and sketch comedy to Kalamazoo.

June 29: Expressions through poetry: This workshop teaches the structures and rhythms of creative poetry to express thoughts, feelings and emotions in a story. Participants can bring material they have worked on or create new material during the workshop. It will also be possible to present your work at the end of the workshop. The workshop is facilitated by Speak it Forward, Inc., an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of youth and adults using spoken word poetry as a way to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, break down barriers and instill a feeling of empowerment.

July 6: Musical creations: This workshop creates the opportunity for young people/teenagers to develop an individual style by applying various concepts and techniques to express their own ideas using melody, harmony, rhythm, improvisation and lyrics. Participants have the opportunity to bring the music they have been working on and present it at the end of the workshop. The workshop is led by Jessica Ivey, singer, songwriter and teaching artist from Detroit. Ivey holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from Western Michigan University and has over 12 years of teaching experience.

July 13: Rhythm and movements: This dance workshop for beginners explores techniques from different dance genres, stage presence tips and simple choreography with energy and fun. It is hosted by Trinity Prep Center, a dance studio in Kalamazoo whose mission is to use positive influence to help young people reach their maximum potential.

July 20: Expression through poetry: This workshop teaches the structures and rhythms of creative poetry to express thoughts, feelings and emotions in a story. Participants can bring material they have worked on or create new material during the workshop. It will also be possible to present your work at the end of the workshop. The workshop is facilitated by Speak it Forward, Inc., an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of youth and adults using spoken word poetry as a way to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, break down barriers and instill a feeling of empowerment.

Attendees of all workshops are urged to exercise caution and follow CDC and local health authority guidelines to protect themselves and the community from COVID-19.

Visit www.kzooparks.org/creativeworkshops for more information.

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