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Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival Brings 18,000 L.A. County Fifth Graders To The Music Center

Children's Festival Chairs Kacey Doheny McCoy (left) and Marcy Hammerstein (right) with Blue Ribbon President Jill Baldauf and Music Center President Rachel Moore. Photo by Larry Ho.

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 – 2:28 PM

Nearly 18,000 fifth graders from 234 L.A. County school attended the annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival  held Feb. 13, 14 and 15 at The Music Center in downtown L.A. Designed specifically for fifth graders, the festival is an annual admission-free program where students—many for the first time—experience a live professional performance, then perform a short-choreographed dance piece all together. 

On hand to greet and guide students were Beverly Hills Blue Ribbon volunteers led by 2018 Children’s Festival Chair Marcy Hammerstein, and members Holly Baril, Maralee Beck, Marcia Caden, Judy Felsenthal, Rayleen Meyer, Karen Platt, Jill Reilly, Lois Rosen, Gina Seidel and Elinor Turner. Co-chair for the event was  

A performance by the all-male Argentinian dance company, Che Malambo, captivated the audience with it dance and music, blending precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming and song. After the performance in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, attendees performed a choreographed dance inspired by the group. 

“As the Blue Ribbon celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we also celebrate this magnificent annual event, The Children’s Festival,” said Jill Baldauf, Blue Ribbon president. “Our continuing goal as Blue Ribbon members is to help enrich the lives of the greater Los Angeles community. Nothing exemplifies this commitment more than the Children’s Festival. Our hope is that all 18,000 fifth graders who walked through the doors of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion were inspired and excited for more involvement in the performing arts. We know arts education improves all education.”

“The arts transform lives, which is why this annual event inspires us all,” said The Music Center’s President/CEO Rachel Moore. “The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival is a shining example of our long-standing arts education programs and a testament to the 50 years The Blue Ribbon has supported our educational work.”

Countywide, students in the participating schools received advance standard-based curriculum materials, background on the guest artists and classroom activities designed to prepare them for the performance. Students also learned about audience etiquette, what to watch for during the performance, dance history and terminology. 

A keepsake book, A Journey Through the Music Center, was given to each student after the performance. Describing The Music Center’s four theaters and various aspects of live performance, the book, a gift of Blue Ribbon member Maxine Dunitz, is updated and reprinted each year.  

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