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Community Partnerships


Young Audiences/Class Act
   The Young Audiences Program and the Class Act Program were initiated to bring professional musicians into the schools to perform for students. These programs auditioned the musicians and artists and encouraged interaction with the student audiences.

 Cecil Bickhart was a co-founder of the Las Vegas Chapter of Young Audiences and served as its first president. Dr. Stephen Caplan, oboe professor at UNLV, was the president of the Class Act Program.

  Both are now discontinued because of the downturn in the economy and budget cutbacks in the schools. An overwhelming number of additional grants are now provided through The John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas arts offerings:  the 
Las Vegas Philharmonic, The Smith Center, and the Henderson Pavilion. The CCSD Community-Partnership Office often coordinates these events.

Clark County Schools continue to have active support from the Board of School Trustees, the Superintendent, the community, the administration, the teachers, the parents, and the students. Music, visual art, dance, and drama experiences for elementary students are indeed flourishing in our community.


The Las Vegas Philharmonic began to offer the Youth Concert Series to CCSD students in 1998. Initially presented at UNLV’s Ham Hall, these concerts are now scheduled for The Smith Center site. Free classical music concerts have been provided to approximately 200,000 children in the last sixteen years. Seventy-five percent of these students attend at-risk Title I schools.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts

    The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a world class performing arts center, opened its doors in March of 2012. Yet, the education and outreach programming of The Smith Center started in 2006, five and half years before the building was completed. Constructed of limestone and granite and designed in the art deco architectural style, The Smith Center was truly built for the future of our community. There was no better way to demonstrate The Smith Center’s commitment to the future of our community than beginning the arts education programming for young people well in advance of the first internationally renowned artists taking the stage of Reynolds Hall.

    Through a multi-faceted ongoing partnership with the Clark County School District, The Smith Center offers programming for schools that includes: student matinees presented by national and international touring theater companies, in-school performances with local and regional artists, master classes with touring Broadway artists, artist residencies in schools and in the community, and opportunities for local students to participate in nationally affiliated programs such as the National High School Musical Theater Awards and Disney Musicals in Schools. All of these exceptional arts experiences are offered free of charge to schools. Funding for all of the noted programs has been provided by a variety of grants, foundations, and individual donors to The Smith Center.

Partners in Education Program of The John F. Kennedy Center

    Since 2001, the Clark County School District has participated in The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program. During the first five years, the school district and the Clark County Cultural Division comprised the Nevada 2001 Partner in Education Team. As of 2006, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts served as the arts partner with the school district in The Kennedy Center Partners in Education program. The program focused on arts integration professional development for teachers. Each year, The Smith Center presented multiple national teaching artists leading professional development workshops for teachers integrating the arts across all content areas. These workshops were offered to teachers at no charge. Some of the presenters included: Daniel Barash with Shadow Puppetry integrating drama and puppetry with literacy and social studies; Marcia Daft with Moving through Math and the Rhythm of Reading; Imani Gonzalez in Building Reading Comprehension Through Sound and Rhythm; Ryan Hourigan in Teaching Music to Students with Autism; Randy Barron in Scientific Thought in Motion; and Deborah Sunya Moore in Connecting Poetry and Music.

Any Given Child

    In December, 2010, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. selected Southern Nevada to participate in the Any Given Child national initiative. Clark County School District, in collaboration with The Kennedy Center and The Smith Center, was the fourth site selected in the United States. Eighteen sites operate across the country today.

  Through the collective efforts of the Southern Nevada Community Arts Team comprised of the major local arts organizations, the school district, and the cultural divisions of the various municipalities, a vision and goals were established for the initiative. The goals were based on data collected, which identified existing resources to support arts education and experiences for K-8 students in public schools. The long-term goals of Any Given Child was to have students experience live arts experiences each year. Schools are provided with teacher’s guides to prepare students for the performance. If a performance is based on a book, a copy of the book may also be provided. Some of the performances have included The Cat in The Hat, Ballet Folklorico, Room on the Broom, The Big Friendly Giant, Where the Wild Things Are, and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Also, offered at school sites are the Nevada Ballet Theater with The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, Nevada School of the Arts’ String Quartet, and Jazz Out of the Box.


Disney Musicals Collaboration

    In 2013, Disney Theatrical Group selected The Smith Center in Las Vegas as its second regional partner for Disney Musicals in Schools. A two-year $100,000 grant from Disney Citizenship allowed The Smith Center to offer this program in selected CCSD elementary schools as an after-school activity. Participating schools are provided an orientation, professional development, and rehearsal support from a teaching artist as well as financial assistance. In each successive year, the level of support decreases as the school takes over more responsibility for producing the performance. Titles of the musicals have included the following: 101 Dalmatians, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Cinderella, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh.

  The picture above features the elementary music specialists who were recognized at The Smith Center Heart of Education Awards. L to R The picture includes: Ashley Chatham, Daniel Jolly, Brett Barnes, Melissa Lovewell, Evan Billings, Rhonda Greeson, Kim Guinn, Eydie Reid, Kate Harris, Emmanuel Mojica, and Garner Mathiasmeier.


The Henderson Pavilion

   From 2003 to the present, the Henderson Pavilion has hosted students for annual performances such as the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. Information is facilitated by CCSD’s Community-Partnership Office. Transportation is provided by the schools while funding is provided by donations from individuals and corporations. 7,999 students have attended the Young People’s Concerts in recent years.

Focus of the music program and summary of this online exhibit

   Throughout the 40-plus years of the Elementary Music Orff Program, the students have always been the focus for learning in the Clark County School District. It is the bright eyes of the children and the encouragement of the parents and community that have continued to motivate the growth and stability of the Orff Program. Because of the participation and the students and community and the on-going giving and patronage of the music specialists, the music program in the CCSD was able to flourish. As you review the last pages in this document, you will note the leadership of teachers. These professionals represent a massive network of sharing and camaraderie in the local, national, and world-wide musical community. Teachers, parents, administrators, and students have all contributed to the success of the music program through their attendance and participation at school events, through their community advocacy, and by their county-wide budgetary support. The children are always at the center of why music teachers spend their lives making “music” of all kinds.

Gilbert Magnet School


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