Cellist Yo-Yo Ma to hold Workshops at Savoy Elementary School in DC

Washington Performing Arts Society, the largest provider of arts education to the D.C. Public Schools, will bring the Grammy Award-winning, National Medal of Arts and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancer Damian Woetzel to Savoy Elementary School in Washington’s Anacostia district for two in-class teaching sessions and a performance on Tuesday, December 4 from 8:40 to 11:30 a.m. Mr. Ma performs a solo recital presented by WPAS at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall the previous evening.

Yo-Yo Ma and Damian Woetzel's appearance at Savoy is part of WPAS’s ongoing outreach program presenting main stage performers in educational settings. Other upcoming events in the 2012-13 season include a presentation by brass musicians from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at Bruce Monroe Elementary School, a workshop for members of the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra led by violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, a master class given by internationally-acclaimed pianist Angela Hewitt, and a master class given by flautist Sir James Galway.

Text Box: Who:		Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Damian Woetzel		
When:		Tuesday, December 4, 2012 from 8:40-11:30 a.m.
Where:	Savoy Elementary School  
What: 		Two teaching sessions with Savoy students, followed by a performance 			featuring Yo-Yo Ma and Savoy students
Contact Brenda Kean Tabor at btabor@wpas.org or 202-533-1886 

Located at 2400 Shannon Place. S.E. in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood, Savoy Elementary School participated last academic year in WPAS’ Capital Voices Project led by WPAS teaching artists Reverb. DCPS statistics show that only 16% of the school’s 344 children met or exceeded DCPS math standards in 2012 and only 19% of the students met or exceeded DCPS reading standards.  Because of its poor academic performance and low community involvement, Savoy was also selected by the Presidential Committee on the Arts and Humanities to be a Turn Around School. In 2011, DCPS selected Savoy for a large School Improvement Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support reform implementation.

The school is led by veteran educator Patrick Pope. Pope was previously principal of Hardy Middle School in Glover Park, which during his tenure emphasized the arts to improve academic achievement and build community. Hardy was an early participant in WPAS’s Capitol Jazz Project, which brought WPAS teaching artists into the school to 16 teaching sessions.

A non-profit and one of the nation's leading presenters of music performances, WPAS’ educational mission is to provide educational opportunities in the performing arts for youth, adults and seniors that enrich and engage our diverse community in a broad spectrum of activities designed to encourage creativity, participation and appreciation of the performing arts.

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Washington Performing Arts Society committed approximately half-a million dollars in free services to the D.C. Public Schools alone and approximately another half million in services to schools in communities beyond the Beltway.

WPAS's Capitol Arts Initiative is designed to be a continuum of programs taking children from audience, to student, to performer, that dovetails with the curriculum and music standards of the D.C. public schools and its Comprehensive Music Plan.

Damian Woetzel was principal dancer for the New York City Ballet from 1989 to 2008 and is director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, artistic director of the Vail International Dance Festival, and founding director of the Jerome Robbins Foundation's New Essential Works (NEW) Program. Damian Woetzel, Yo-Yo Ma, and WPAS Board Chair Reginald Van Lee are members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

This program is made possible in part by the generous support of Mars, Inc.

Washington Performing Arts Society has created profound opportunities for connecting the community to artists, in both education and performance.  Through live events in venues that criss-cross the landscape of the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are guided, and established artists who have bonded with the local audience are invited to return.  In this way, the space between artists and audiences is eliminated, so that all may share life-long opportunities to deepen their cultural knowledge, enrich their lives, and expand their understanding and compassion of the world through the universal language of the arts.