SPAC's "Classic Kids" education program to be sponsored by Union College

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Union College has become the multi-year title sponsor of Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s arts education program for children, “Classical Kids.”

Designed as an introduction to the classical performing arts, the program for elementary and middle school students combines live, in-school demonstrations by professional dancers and musicians with attendance at SPAC to experience world-class performances by the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

“Union College’s multi-year Title Sponsorship of Classical Kids is a milestone moment for this program which has touched the lives of more than 50,000 schoolchildren since it was founded in 1993,” said SPAC President Marcia J. White said. “We are tremendously grateful for Union’s support, which will help us maintain program quality and move toward new goals. Our educational institutions, our young people and the arts community all benefit from the effort to make the classical performing arts accessible for the next generation; I applaud Union for taking a leadership role in this area.”

Classical Kids was first created in 1993 at the suggestion of former SPAC board member and Union graduate James Taylor, president and owner of Taylor Made in Gloversville. Noting the lack of performing arts education programs in his community’s local school, Taylor developed the concept and provided initial funding to launch the program.

The only program of its kind in the region, “Classical Kids” is a partnership between SPAC and local school districts that integrates classroom study of classical works and in-school demonstrations by music and dance professionals. Students who successfully complete the program receive two SPAC season lawn passes for classical performances each year, until they graduate from high school.

The lead artist for the in-school dance presentations is Marcus Rogers, Assistant Director of the Dance Program at Union College. Rogers also teaches dance at several local dance schools including Northeast Ballet and Berkshire Ballet and is a professional dancer who has performed in national touring productions and in principal roles for several dance companies.

Orchestral demonstrations are led by Robert Cafaro, a cellist and prominent member of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Cafaro is also an avid soloist and chamber musician who performs in major cities around the globe. Cafaro is a dedicated educator who teaches courses at the University of Virginia, the Philadelphia College of Bible, the College of New Jersey, the Hartwick Summer Music Festival in Oneonta, Strings International, and the Summer Strings Seminar in Rhinebeck.

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