The arts are essential to a balanced education, yet most schools in Vancouver are not able to offer a specialized curriculum in the arts. As such, the Vancouver School Board relies on community partnerships with arts organizations to better meet the needs of students in under-resourced schools.
“Many of the students in our district are not familiar with a spectacular concert hall like the Chan Centre and feel a sense of surprise and amazement at the venue,” says Peggy Bochun, Fine Arts Coordinator, Vancouver School Board. “When they see, listen to, and experience cultural performances that are out of their ordinary experience, they are pushing the boundaries of their awareness and understanding.”
The Roots and Shoots Program at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts offers children from a broad range of socio-economic realities and ethnic backgrounds rare opportunities to experience world music and learn about the diverse cultures from performing artists.
“Roots and Shoots provides transformational experiences for young people, igniting curiosity and empathy while providing important learning opportunities,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. “The influence of these performances is immediately obvious and the enthusiastic feedback we get from the students, teachers, administrators and artists clearly illustrates the value of Roots and Shoots.”
The program invites up to seven schools each year to attend a world music concert held at the Chan Centre. The live performance is accompanied by 12 hours of workshops held in each school where students interact with the artists.
“They are able to learn about the dances, costumes, and different types of instruments—what they are made of and how they are played—and can ask questions during the residencies,” says Bochun. “The latter gives students an appreciation for the arts from a world view perspective and fosters an open attitude towards a deeper understanding of other cultures.”
To encourage a sense of community, Roots and Shoots invites entire schools to participate in the program and experience the world-class performances together. With community support, the Chan Centre aims to increase the number of participating schools and engage more than 3000 students each year.
Join us to help young learners develop into well-rounded, educated and culturally-aware citizens. Your generous support will expose children to music from diverse cultures. Roots and Shoots features Vancouver-based artists, and occasionally, international artists. Previous performers include:
- Masabo Culture Company, an ensemble of hereditary West African master musicians and dancers
- Dancers of Damelahamid, an Indigenous dance company from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia
- Uzume Taiko, Canada’s premiere professional taiko drumming group
- Ache Brasil, a performance group dedicated to promoting Brazilian culture
- Anda Union, a band that unites tribal and musical traditions from Inner Mongolia