18,000 Students to Kick up Heels at 41st Annual Blue Ribbon Children's Festival, Glee Star Harry Shum Jr to Join Performance on April 5

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The Music Center's longest-running educational program -- the Blue Ribbon Children's Festival -- welcomes students from 245 schools to the Music Center to see a live performance of Diavolo Dance Theater for free and to perform a choreographed dance on the Music Center Plaza. 3,000 students will perform simultaneously. Glee star Harry Shum Jr will dance with the students at the April 5, 2011 performance.

The book, A Journey through the Music Center, is given to each student who attends The Blue Ribbon Children's Festival. Parents can email for a free copy at blueribbon(at)musiccenter(dot)org

At a time when school districts are aggressively cutting art and music programs from their budgets, the Music Center continues its longest-running educational program as The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival brings the experience of live performing arts for free to more than 18,000 fifth grade students on April 5, 6 and 7, 2011.

Now in its 41st year, the festival welcomes students from 245 public, private and charter schools in Los Angeles County to a special performance by Diavolo, a compelling Los Angeles-based company that redefines dance through trust, teamwork and individual expression. The company will perform at 9:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on April 5, 6, and 7 at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. After each engagement, more than 3,000 students will gather together on the Music Center Plaza to perform a choreographed dance incorporating music and movements from one of Diavolo’s featured dances, “Atom,” which the students have rehearsed in their classrooms in advance of their Music Center visit.

As a special treat, Harry Shum Jr, who plays Mike Chang on the hit show, “Glee,” will dance with the students after the 9:45 a.m. Diavolo performance on Tuesday, April 5.

About The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival

Each year, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival invites fifth grade students from all public, private and charter schools throughout Los Angeles County to attend a free performance by a renowned performing arts company at one of the Music Center’s four venues. Reservations are accepted on a first come basis. Participating schools receive curriculum materials, background on the performing company and classroom activities to help prepare students for the performance. Educators teach their students about audience etiquette, what to watch for during the performance as well as the choreography for a dance they will perform themselves, incorporating music and movements from the professional performance.

Following the festival, each participating student will receive a copy of A Journey through the Music Center, a book that introduces the reader to all four theatres of the Music Center and various aspects of the performing arts. Blue Ribbon member Maxine Dunitz made a $1 million gift to the Music Center to ensure that every student who attends the festival receives this book, which is updated and reprinted annually. This year, A Journey through the Music Center will be available in limited quantity, while supplies last, to children who are not able to attend the festival. Parents can email their name, address, phone number and email address to blueribbon(at)musiccenter(dot)org to request a copy.

History of the Festival and The Blue Ribbon

Started in 1970 as part of the Music Center’s commitment to engage young people in the arts, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival is one of California’s longest, ongoing free arts educational programs. More than 700,000 children have participated in the festival since its inception. Over the years, students have seen performances by the LA Phil, LA Opera, American Ballet Theatre and The Joffrey Ballet, among others. For many students, the festival is their first opportunity to experience a live performing arts event.

The Blue Ribbon is a support group of the Music Center, its resident companies and its arts education program. It was created in 1968 by Dorothy Buffum Chandler to plan and sponsor social, educational and cultural activities for the Music Center. During its 43-year history, Blue Ribbon Members have contributed more than $50 million to support the Music Center’s resident companies and arts education programs.

About the Music Center

As one of the top performing arts centers in the world, the Music Center is committed to strengthening community through the arts. Set in the heart of Los Angeles’ downtown cultural district and home to four internationally renowned resident companies – LA Phil, Center Theatre Group, LA Opera and Los Angeles Master Chorale – and the celebrated Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center, the Music Center offers the most compelling, highest quality engagements. By encouraging a full range of arts experiences, the Music Center is a national model for which people participate directly through Active Arts® at the Music Center. As well, the Music Center presents special productions, events and festivals for children and families, including World City at the Music Center, and plays a leadership role in advocating for and directly providing arts education in schools throughout the County. The Music Center boasts four venues – the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall – as well as a vibrant collection of outdoor theatres, plazas, and gardens.

For more information about the Music Center, visit musiccenter.org.

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Bonnie Goodman
Music Center
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