Flushing Town Hall Teaching Artist: April Armstrong
April Armstrong , actor, singer, writer and storyteller, has appeared in numerous New York Off-Broadway productions and in Broadway National Tours such as CAROUSEL and RAGTIME. April has performed roles at regional theatres including The Guthrie, American Musical Theatre of San Jose, and American Repertory Theatre, among others. She has starred as Billie Holiday in a one-woman show at the Providence Black Repertory Company and The River Valley Rep Co, to much acclaim. On film, her voice can be heard in the movie WASHINGTON SQUARE, directed by Aneskia Holland. In addition to soap operas and commercials, April is a reoccurring reporter on the television drama, LAW & ORDER: SVU. April is also a captivating storyteller who's timing and vocal expressions have charmed adults and children alike. She has told stories for Flushing Council for Culture and the Arts, Queens Borough Public Libraries, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, Historic Hudson Valley venues, The Westchester Council for the Arts, as well as dozens of other libraries on Long Island and in the public schools in the NY tri-state area. As a Teaching Artist, April works creatively with schools to design unique curriculum-related programs and residencies for students from pre-K to High School. Themes and subjects taught include: song writing, jazz, creative drama, historical improvisation (i.e., the Harlem Renaissance), musical theatre, storytelling, poetry and creative dance. She has taught on the faculties of Lincoln Center Institute, Theatre Development Fund, Center for Arts Education, Arts Horizons, Manhattan New Music Project, Henry Street Settlement, and Carnegie Hall's "Link Up." April holds a Bachelors of Music from Manhattan School of Music and a Masters of Arts in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Poetry and Jazz Workshop
April Armstrong will lead students to explore self expression by writing poems inspired by the music of Louis Armstrong. Students will learn the basic elements that make up jazz, such as syncopation, improvisation, call and response, etc., while comparing these musical elements to standard poetry forms (Haiku, Tanka, Lantern, Diamonte, etc.)
Storytelling and the Blues - A Creative Workshop
Inspired by the current Louis Armstrong exhibit at Flushing Town Hall, students will be introduced to the sound and scope of the blues, one of the fastest spreading musical genres in history. They will understand the basic historic elements of blues genre. They will be introduced to the storytelling aspects of blues songs. The student will learn the elements of a blues scale and 12 bar blues song form in order to compose a blues song.
The Remonstrance Workshop
Students explore key points and key players in the Flushing Remonstrance as they discover how the Remonstrance changed Queens' history for future generations. By use of drama exercises and improvisation, students will be challenged to think about what is important to them, and how far they would go to support this interest. The group will join together to create an original song in petition to a negative imposing force, leading them to understand how they, too, can make a difference in their own world.