By Stephanie Watanabe, Blogger at The Girl Who Knows and P.S. ARTS Supporter
At P.S. ARTS, we are thrilled to share articles written by those who support our cause. Our friend Stephanie wrote this post after the Yale Whiffenpoofs Concert held at The Broad Stage back in April. We are excited to share her story and what arts education means to her! You can find this original post on Stephanie’s website.
Sooo . . . this past Sunday, I had the great pleasure of attending a charitable event in support of P.S. ARTS.
First of all, I wish I could say that attending this event was solely an act of charitable giving.
But alas my motives weren’t entirely pure. Like a few million other girls (and boys) out there, I wanted to get my eyes on Darren Criss up close.I’m such a fan of his from Glee. In case he’s not on your radar, Darren is one of the most interesting young performers coming up right now. His voice is other-worldly, he’s a damn fine actor and he’s a super likeable guy from the Bay Area.
Yes. I have a wee little crush on the boy.
The Yale Whiffenpoofs are the world’s oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group. The group (also known as “The Whiffs”) were established in 1909 by a quartet of Yale seniors. Today, the group carries on. Each year, fourteen senior men are selected to participate in this celebrated Yale tradition. The roots of this elite group and their signature song can be traced back to the Yale Glee Club in the early 1900′s. To this day, The Whiffenpoof Song is sung at the end of every concert as a celebration of brotherhood and tradition. If you’re interested, you can find out more about the Whiffs here.
I highly recommend checking out one of their shows if you ever have the chance. It’s good ‘ol fashioned fun.All the tradition and formalities aside, these boys can sing. I mean REALLY sing. I’ve heard a cappella group’s before, but this was over the top. They had such strength and power and vocal control. It was so impressive. Hats off to the Whiffs!
And Darren Criss was . . . awesome.
That’s really all I can say without acting like a giddy 14-year old.
All of this great talent was put on display in support of an organization that has been serving Southern California schools for more than two decades. Their mission? To improve the lives of children by providing arts education to underserved public schools and communities.
My life was profoundly affected by the theater department in my junior high and high school back in St. Louis. I honestly can’t imagine my life without the arts.
In music, drama and art classes, I found myself. I found a language that I could speak. A tribe that I could call my own. A way to express myself and develop a sense of value and purpose. Art changes lives.The mission of P.S. ARTS is one that’s close to my heart. I’m really looking forward to continuing to support and be involved in their good work. Be sure to watch the video below and visit the P.S. ARTS site to learn more about how you can help support the arts in schools!
Thank you for writing this piece, Stephanie! We asked “The Girl Who Knows” a few questions about why arts education is so meaningful to her.
1. How has arts education been important to you in your life and why?
Growing up, I was always the kid who felt like she never fit in. I was in the midwest and from a multi-racial family, which in the 80′s and 90′s wasn’t all that cool. I was teased and made fun of a lot. Art and the theater were my outlets.
I remember being in art class when I was in elementary school. I loved that I could be anyone I wanted. I could create what I felt was beautiful. There was no wrong or right. It was something that I did, and made, with my own two hands. And it felt good. Then, when I got to junior high school, I was bitten by the drama bug and become a full-on theater girl until I graduated high-school. I loved the freedom to play different characters and explore their inner worlds. The rush of being on stage combined with the amazing sense of peace I felt while rehearsing and the tribe of fellow thespians I was a part of – it’s something I’ll never forget and has absolutely shaped who I am today. Those were the single most memorable and happy memories from my youth, for sure. And quite frankly, I don’t know where I would be today if it weren’t for arts education in my life.
2. How did you first hear of/or come to know about P.S. ARTS?
I first heard of P.S. ARTS when I was browsing around the internet. Given the nature of the web, I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled upon your site, but I remember looking at all the great work you were doing and thinking it would be great to support your work one day. The fact that you got mega-talent Darren Criss to your latest event didn’t hurt either.
You can follow Stephanie’s blog for more great articles and inspiration at www.thegirlwhoknows.com.