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October 12, 2004 > Cultural Arts Assemblies for Schools

Cultural Arts Assemblies for Schools

by Praveena Raman

The Cultural Arts In The Schools (CATS) program sponsored by the Fremont Cultural Arts Council (FCAC) brings a variety of performing arts assemblies at a subsidized rate to the schools, both public and private. The program has been in existence in Fremont for 20 years and has served as a model for other programs in the Tri-City area that bring arts to the schools. This year, FCAC for the first time, will be expanding the program to include Newark schools.

The CATS program works on a block booking model whereby a large number of performances are booked all at once under negotiated reduced rates. The program is supported by grants and membership contributions. By going through the CATS program schools can save about 35% to 45% of the performers' fees. For example, performances that would typically range from $350-$760, if they are directly booked, would cost the schools $225- $400 by booking through CATS. With these prices schools get two back-to-back performances, one for the primary kindergarten through third grade students, and the other for secondary students from fourth through sixth grades. Bookings need to be made early in the school year by the schools to get their first choice of the performances. Performances though varied, are limited in number. "We try to work around holidays, testing days, recess breaks and any other obstacles to make it as accommodating as possible for schools and performers,." said CATS program manager, Maria Rogers. "Therefore, it is helpful to book as early as possible before other school districts reserve the performances."

A choice of musical, multi-cultural and literature based theatrical assemblies are offered to the schools through the year. The performances are held at the schools and usually take place in their multi-purpose rooms such as cafeterias and gymnasiums. The stage is not a requirement for performances and the space needed varies from performer to performer.

Every year the performances are a combination of some favorite ones from previous years and new discoveries. Feedback from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) teachers and teachers from neighboring districts are also taken into account while selecting programs. Maria adds "Fortunately we are in the Bay Area which has an abundance of talented performers. We use local contacts to help us find exciting performances geared toward the students we are serving. Also, some artists know about us and keep in contact."

The following is a selection of programs that are being offered to the schools in the 2004-2005 season:

Stagebridge - a Storytelling Play
Four friends search for riches and along the way discover valuable treasures in their own memories. They share stories about family, friends, school, and animals and remember children's games and rhymes. These senior citizens will bridge the generation gap with your students.
Regular Price - $550 -- Your cost for two performances through FCAC - $300

Axis Dance Group
Axis Dance Company creates and performs high quality contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities. It is an unforgettable performance which will inspire your students to overcome obstacles to obtain their dreams.
Regular Price - $760 -- Your cost for two performances through FCAC - $400

The Traveling Lantern Theater Company
1. The Hobbit - This prequel to the famous trilogy by J. R. Tolkein is much more than a children's book, and can be enjoyed from K - 6.
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis' exquisite leap into the land of Narnia. In a mysterious old house, children find a musty magical wardrobe containing a secret entrance that leads them into a fantastic world. It will touch the hearts of all who enter.
3. The Life of Mozart - (Spring 2005) History brought to life. A gleeful and historically accurate play about one of the greatest geniuses who ever lived, accompanied by Mozart's breathtaking music. This play is designed to introduce young people to the joy of music and tells the true story of the composer's life.
Regular Price - $750 -- Your cost for two performances through FCAC - $400

Randall Metz and the Puppet Company
1. The Nutcracker - Enchanted by the classical music of Tchaikovsky, this timeless tale comes to life with over 40 puppets. It is sure to be a treat for all. December 1, 2 and 3.
2. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - With Paul Daka's music score, the puppets tell the story of a small boy whose curiosity often gets him into trouble. November 3, 4 & 5.
3. Peter and the Wolf - Through the exciting use of Prokofiev's famous musical score, Peter and his friends, appearing as musical instruments, are brought to life as they attempt to capture the wolf. January 24-28.
Regular Price - $350 -- Your cost for two performances through FCAC - $225

Percussion Discussion - Ken Bergmann
Mr. Bergmann brings a unique assembly with percussion instruments from around the world integrating science and culture with a boost of self-esteem.
Regular Price - $600 -- Your cost for two performances through FCAC - $390

Opera Piccola - Small Works
This ancient Iranian tale offers a note of hope for peace in a world of uncertainty. A lonely woman is visited one rainy night by a crowd of unexpected "guests". Several students will be asked to participate in the play.
Regular Price - $400 -- Your cost for two performances through FCAC - $250

For more information or to book performances contact FCAC-CATS Program Manager Maria Rogers at (510) 793-3843 or e-mail or go to Provide your name, phone number, artist(s) and the dates you would prefer. Bookings are handled in order of requests.

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