The 7/4 Ensemble was born out of the interests of 7 young people belonging to El Sistema (the system) of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela.  As a group, they cross the borders of academic music and immerse themselves in the wide world of Venezuelan folk music, including Latin American music and jazz.  They play technically and artistically, using the knowledge gained in their academic training with El Sistema.

7/4 Ensemble has two fundamental objectives.  One is their social educational goal, which they achieve by offering educational concerts in different schools, colleges and nucleos in El Sistema; and answering and clarifying questions presented by children and youth, while encouraging them to form memories of joy with music. Secondly, as an artistic goal, they infuse Venezuelan music through thier work around the world, hoping to make the Venezuelan product synonymous with quality and excellence.

In five years as a group, they have recorded two albums: “Tour Pabellón Criollo” (2012) and “7/4 Pa’ las doce” (2013). This year, they have two projects in production. They have toured internationally and performed concerts in countries like Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Spain, USA, and Venezuela.  In a tour organized by El Sistema USA (with the collaboration of Mark Churchill and Benjamin Zander), they performed at Berklee College of Music and Harvard University in 2014.

In their fairly short history, the 7/4 ensemble have worked with big names in the music world such as James Morrison, Thomas Gansch, Allen Vizzutti, Francisco “Pacho” Flores, Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, Andrea Toffanelli, Rex Richardson, Doc Severinsen, Gustavo Dudamel, and José Antonio Abreu, among others.  In September 2015, they were invited to tour with Maestro Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, where thye participated in academic activities and concerts in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Farmer Jason is the brainchild of rock music legend Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers. An Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Ringenberg is one of the pioneers of the modern Americana and alt-country genres.

In 2002 he created Farmer Jason to educate and entertain children about farm life and the wonders of nature. The character is based on his own farming background and love of the great outdoors. As Farmer Jason, he has released 4 records and a DVD. He has starred in the “It’s a Farmer Jason” video interstitial program airing on several PBS stations around the United States, earning one Emmy and 4 Emmy nominations. Farmer Jason’s records have won numerous awards, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the Los Angeles Times’ Children’s Record of the Year list.

Farmer Jason has performed several thousand concerts in venues ranging from rural fairs on the Alaskan tundra to posh European performance halls. The highly acclaimed live show involves sing-alongs, dancing, and discussions about nature appreciation, ecology, and farm animals. Farmer Jason performs solo with just his acoustic guitar, which adds to the spontaneous, high- energy nature of his concerts. Farmer Jason draws his musical influences from folk, country, and rock ‘n’ roll with a dash of DIY punk rock. Grab a pitchfork, or your guitar, and climb aboard the tractor!

Jason Ringenberg is hailed as "one of the most dynamic live solo performers of his generation," (London Times). As frontman with the Scorchers, Ringenberg brought his A-game to the stage and Nashville and the world responded. Farmer Jason's shows have this same trademark energy and wit, with kid appropriate humor and lots of audience-engaging interactivity for children.

Curriculum Connections: Music, Science, Geography, Social Studies, Ecology, Listening & Communication Skills and Visual & Performing Arts

Curriculum Connections: Dance, Music, Geography, History, Listening & Communication Skills and Visual & Performing Arts

North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Grade Level(s):               Time(s):  
5th  Grade                        10:00 am
6th Grade                         1:00 pm

Billy Jonas Trio

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Grade Level(s):               Time(s):  
3rd  Grade                        10:00 am
4th Grade                         1:00 pm

Curriculum Connections: Music, Science, Ecology, Language Development,  Listening & Communication Skills and Visual & Performing Arts

Farmer Jason

Friday, April 13, 2018

Grade Level(s):               Time(s):  
1st  Grade                        10:00 am
2nd Grade                       1:00 pm

7/4 Venezuela

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Grade Level(s):               Time(s):  
7th  Grade                        10:00 am
8th Grade                         1:00 pm

Curriculum Connections: World Music, Geography,

Listening & Communication Skills and Visual & Performing Arts

Billy Jonas believes that creating a bright future starts with kids. Using homemade and recyclable "re-percussion" instruments, songs that celebrate community, as well as personal and planetary ecology, his think-outside-the-box educational performances occur at schools, colleges, universities and libraries around the country. Billy’s goal is to plant musical seeds, that will help grow creative, open-minded, engaged and open-hearted citizens of the world.

Some ask: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Billy Jonas asks: “What is the sound of 600 sets of keys jingling on the downbeat? And how shall we inspire the audience to do it?”  For 25 years, Billy Jonas, performer, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator, has perfected the art of the neo-tribal hootenanny around the globe - original songs performed with a generous dose of audience participation. Jonas and his band perform using voice, guitar, and industrial re-percussion - homemade creations of buckets and barrels, keys and cans, bells and body percussion. Each concert is a soul-spelunking, heart healing, joy-filled journey of spirited music that is accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or cultural background.

Billy developed his craft in the late 1980‘s as a founding member of the Oberlin College Big Bang Theory performance art collective. He refined things further in Chicago during monthly “Bangalong with Billy” shows at the No Exit Cafe, and subsequently in the 1990‘s as a co-founder (with Bill Melanson) of the funky folk duo The Billys. He currently tours with The Billy Jonas Band, which was honored with an invitation to perform at the White House in 2010.

Jonas has received numerous honors and awards, including an American Federation of Independent Musicians 1st place/Gold, multiple Parents' Choice Golds, and a New York Times “Best” listing. Billy Jonas has shared stages with many renowned artists, including Alison Krauss, Peter Yarrow, Keb' Mo', Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Paul Winter, Michele Shocked, Justin Bieber, Ani DiFranco, David Wilcox, Richard Thompson, and Pete Seeger.

2017-2018 Class Acts Schedule of Performances

Rhythm…funk…innovation…excitement: that’s the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE). One of the best youth tap ensembles in the world, NCYTE features 40 dancers, ages 8 to 18, who hail from throughout North Carolina. Don’t let the word “youth” fool you. These dancers tear up the floor with poise, passion and professionalism. NCYTE honors the traditions of this unique American form while infusing it with youthful energy, contemporary music, and innovative dances from some of the world’s most talented choreographers.

Founded by JUBA award winning artistic director Gene Medler in 1983, NCYTE entertains audiences with cutting-edge contemporary choreography along with traditional rhythm tap. NCYTE has toured throughout the U.S. and the world, with performances in Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany and Mexico. The company has toured or collaborated with the Greensboro Symphony, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mallarme Chamber Players, and the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, among others.

NCYTE alumni—including tap virtuosos Michelle Dorrance and Jason Janas—have gone on to Broadway and beyond. The list of choreographers who have created the company’s repertory reads like a who’s who in the tap world, including the legendary Savion Glover.

NCYTE performs over 30 school shows a year. Each show is an hour long performance showcasing a wide variety of percussive dance styles from around the world. The dancers share educational talks to enhance the performance and engage the students. A Q&A session follows the performance, so students and staff can ask the dancers questions about tap dancing, NCYTE, and performing. They also provide a teachers guide so that teachers can integrate arts curriculum into pre- and post- performance lessons.

The 7/4 Venezuela performance is funded in part by a grant from the Sampson Arts Council Grassroots Funding program made possible by the NC Arts Council; an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.” &