Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Take It From The Top
. . . .

Take It From The Top

Kristi Kates - August 1st, 2011
It’s not often that youthful students have a chance to work with a Broadway director on their theatrical skills, but that’s what’s in store for kids participating in the Take It From the Top (TIFTT) workshops this summer at the Traverse City Opera House.
Poised to offer aspiring musical theater performers a wealth of personalized training and experience in music, dance, and theater, the TIFTT workshops, taught by Broadway professionals and helmed by director Paul Canaan, are enriching and focused, exposing their students to many different facets of on-stage life.
Currently, the workshops are limited to those aged 10 to 18; a teachers’ workshop took place in East Lansing, but that idea has yet to be developed in Traverse City, nor have adult theater workshops. But for the youthful students who are fortunate enough to be able to enroll, it’s a chance to see what the Broadway life is really all about.

DANCE AND SING
“We try to maximize the students’ experiences with our faculty,” Canaan explains, “we usually begin a workshop with a vocal warm-up with the whole group, and then we split into smaller groups and dance in one space, while another group works on vocal material. Then the two groups switch so that they get both classes.”
One-on-one solo coaching is also included through the week (“so students can work on their own material,” Canaan says), and a broad range of both classic and modern musical theater composers and plays are referenced throughout, so performers can get the Broadway experience from the ground up.
“We touch on Fosse, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Rent,” Canaan says, “musical theater encompasses a huge variety of themes and styles.”
TIFTT got its start at the Wharton Center at Michigan State University (as part of their “Artist in Residency” program), a program known as Take It From The Top is quickly becoming a favorite returning event for Traverse City, partnering with the Old Town Playhouse for classes during the day, and performing their recitals at the Traverse City Opera House.

BIG AUDITIONS
Whether students are just looking to have fun with on-stage arts, improve their performances in local productions, or aim at the bigger footlights of Broadway or national stages, Canaan says there’s something for everyone - but the program does also have a great record of success as far as giving performers the confidence and connections to help get their dancing feet in various professional and college-level doors.
“We’ve had a lot of students stay in touch with our casting directors, and get auditions in New York,” Canaan enthuses, “I actually sent a video of a boy from Traverse City to the casting director of Billy Elliot (the Broadway musical), and she was thrilled to see all of the talent in Michigan.”
“We also have a lot of students get into great musical theater college programs,” he continues, “which I love seeing, as well.”

ON-STAGE REWARDS
Canaan’s rewards are, he explains, in seeing new talents gain confidence, and in working with new instructors, as well, which he explains can add a whole new level of enthusiasm to the program itself.
“I’m bringing a new team of teachers into the workshops (for 2011),” he says, “which is always fun when you have some of the same students. And I’m very excited that we get to perform at the Opera House in Traverse City - it’s one of my favorite cities to work in. My favorite part about the workshops week is seeing the growth throughout the week. A lot of our students come to the program not knowing what to expect, and nervous about working with theater professionals.”
“But by the end of the week,” he says, “they’re on stage singing and dancing and taking risks fearlessly. I love that.”

The Take It From The Top workshops begin on August 2. For more information and to sign up, visit http://www.cityoperahouse.org/takeitfromthetop.php
 
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