Music Students Explore the Legacy of César Chavez with Pacific Symphony’s AXP@Home Program

Over the past year, the arts-X-press team carried on their summer fun traditions by introducing AXP@Home, the remote format of Pacific Symphony’s immersive arts summer camp. With the success of last summer’s virtual camp, AXP@Home has since been expanded through alumni workshops that explore important themes through a different art form each month. 

Starting with the March workshop, however, the AXP@Home staff opened its doors to all middle-school students for the 2021 Spring workshop series as we prepare to welcome new students for our 2021 summer program.

The AXP@Home Spring Workshop, Si Se Puede! — Yes You Can!, provided students a creative safe space to explore dance, musical theater and cultural history. In celebration of César Chavez Day (March 31), Theatre Arts Instructor Deana Occhipinti led our group of new and returning students through an interactive musical theatre adaptation of a children’s book called Harvesting Hope by Kathleen Krull, which describes the inspirational life events of Chavez. Occhipinti wrote this script to be interactive and educational, and to inspire empowerment through storytelling.

Together, Instructor Occhipinti and students collaborated to reflect the spirit of the commemorative holiday through energetic choreography and call-and-response chanting; each time the script mentioned César’s name, students all followed a chant of “Sí, se puede!” with “Yes, it can be done!” 

Occhipinti emphasized how elements of impassioned storytelling can become the driving force for all forms of the arts: “We became part of the story, and there is always a story to be told!” Occhipinti told students. “As you go through life, I encourage you to tell your story, and also become a good audience—learning how to appreciate other people telling their stories.” 

To get the group’s creativity flowing, students and counselors also created chants to reflect what they feel most passionate about in their lives:

  • “Doesn’t having fun matter? Let’s open our creative eye together!” 
  • “We’re marching to justice for our sisters and our mothers. We should have equal rights—so let’s stop the fights!” 
  • “Stand tall—don’t let people discriminate! 

As we look to inspire future leaders in many young artists, we should actively work to provide them a platform to share their experiences and voice what truly matters to them.

The next workshop in the AXP@Home Spring Workshop series, “Blooming in Your Community,” will be a creative expression workshop taking place on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Click here to register! 

Please stay tuned to @artsXpress on Instagram and Facebook for updates on news and content!

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