New York State Alliance for Arts Education Professional Development Opportunities

Four Regional Symposium Exploring Arts Learning and Common Core State Standards

From January through March, 2014 teachers and artists of all grade levels will explore vital information and effective strategies to meet Common Core State Standards through the ARTS@theCORE Symposia. Lead by nationally-recognized experts in arts curriculum development, each symposium will provide participants with opportunities to develop curricula in and through the arts and to network with local arts educators. Hosted in four different locations– Purchase, Dix Hills, Albany and Rochester—and providing 5.5 hours of PD credit, ARTS@theCORE meets arts educators where they are and guides them to techniques they can directly apply to their teaching. Freelance teaching artists may apply for scholarships (waived registration fee).

For more information on ARTS@theCORE, our accomplished faculty, and how to register, please click here.

Arts Connect All New York: A Mentorship Program for Arts Educators Teaching Students with Special Needs

Arts Connect All New York provides arts educators with a mentor for the Spring 2014 semester, with the goal to improve the quality of instruction provided to students with special needs. This is an unique opportunity to receive specialized, focused, one-on-one professional development from ACANY mentors, who are highly accomplished arts educators in their own right and represent four regions across the state. Additional notable features of this program include: three phone consultations, three on-site visits, self-reflective writing assignments, and a $125 stipend. For more information on the program, our exceptional mentors, and how to apply (deadline Dec 15), please click here.

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Poet Tadeusz Dąbrowski Gives Reading at UMass Amherst

From the University of Massachusetts – Amherst: To mark the beginning of Polish Culture Month, Polish poet Tadeusz Dąbrowski is presenting a bilingual reading at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in 301 Herter Hall. The reading is being hosted by the Amesbury Professorship in Polish Language, Literature and Culture at UMass Amherst.

Born in 1979, Dąbrowski has been called “an inheritor of the great metaphysical tradition in [Polish] poetry” and “an essential factor in the picture of contemporary [Polish] verse.” Critics have described his poetry, which has been published in numerous Polish and foreign journals, as “restlessly inventive, sharp-witted, and intent on raising mischief” and as “full of love, swagger, and linguistic excitement.”

Dąbrowski is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including the bilingual collection “Black Square,” with translations by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, published in 2011 by Zephyr Press in Boston.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in campus lots and at metered spaces after 5 p.m.

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Tribute to Ray Manzarek

Famed Rock Musician Passes
By Raymond Rolak

CHICAGO — Ray Manzarek, the famed keyboard artist for The Doors, passed after a long battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74 and under treatment at a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany. He was surrounded by family. He became part of Rock-and-Roll history with his jazz influenced electric organ renditions for the historic band. It is reported that The Doors sold over 100 million albums.

Born of Polish decent and attending Chicago St. Rita’s High School, his first real passion was basketball.

Manzarek was responsible for the left handed bass keyboard sound that became the unique signature of The Doors. He was in film school in 1965 at UCLA when along with Jim Morrison, they started their historic band. They enlisted drummer John Densmore and another friend, guitarist Robby Krieger. Because Manzarek did double duty with the keyboard they never had a bass guitar player. He also did some vocals on The Doors hit recordings.

Ray Manzarek, performing in 2002. Manzarek had reunited with The Doors' guitarist Robby Krieger more than 30 years after the band's lead singer, Jim Morrison, died.

Ray Manzarek, performing in 2002. Manzarek had reunited with The Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger more than 30 years after the band’s lead singer, Jim Morrison, died.

In 1966, The Doors started to find their niche as the house band at the famed Los Angeles Sunset Strip nightclub, Whisky a Go-Go. The band developed what was described as a unique new L. A. sound and released “Break On Through (to the Other Side)” in early 1967. Then “Light My Fire” shot to No. 1 just two months later. Manzarek will always be known for the opening riff on “Light My Fire.”

His silky keyboards on “Riders On the Storm” are now considered iconic and classic rock. His art set the distinctive musical sound of the Doors apart from everyone else. This L.A. underground sound made The Doors both national and global rock stars.

Manzarek had said in a 2011 interview, “We had auditioned at a club in Los Angeles, and I saw the Fender Rhodes keyboard bass onstage, which belonged to another band. And I thought, ‘Eureka, that’s it. I’ll play that.’” “It worked out fine because it’s basically the way I play the keyboard anyway, with my left hand playing the bass line. And it kept The Doors as a four-side diamond, rather than an evil pentagram, he added.”

Manzarek married Dorothy Fujikawa in Los Angeles on December 21, 1967.

The band carried the baggage of controversy because of Morrison’s alcohol and drug use. Their 1976 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show was mired in giant television dispute because of a censored lyric.

After Morrison’s death in 1971, the band eventually broke up. Manzarek and Krieger had a contentious lawsuit with Densmore about licensing The Doors’ name for commercial purposes. Manzarek also became an author, writing “Light My Fire: My Life with the Doors” in 1998 and “The Poet In Exile” in 2002. He also became a successful producer especially with Punk Music in California.

In a Rolling Stones Magazine article in 1974, Manzarek said, “The Doors’ success was so quick it frightened me. The adulation we received was ridiculous. Nobody was saying much about the music – it was just mystique. The Doors became so mythical in such a short time. It was too much too soon.”

The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Manzarek also reinvented himself playing jazz club dates and some Chicago style Blues. He last recorded in 2010, a blues album with slide guitarist Roy Rogers.

He was born Feb. 12, 1939 in Chicago and his real last name was Manczarek. He dropped the “c.” to simplify the spelling. He also had earned an Economics degree from DePaul University. In semi-retirement he had settled in Napa County. Manzarek is survived by his wife, Dorothy; a son, Pablo; three grandchildren and two brothers, Rick and James Manczarek.

Editor’s Note: Raymond Rolak was one of the producers for the recently released to DVD Hawaiian comedy, Get A Job.

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Olympic Art Contest for Students Abroad

Graphic courtesy of the Rolco Sports Network

The Republic of Poland sponsored an Olympic Art Contest celebrating the 2012 London Olympics that was open to students of Polish Saturday Schools that operate abroad. The outstanding entries were displayed at a recent reception at the Polish Cultural and Social Center in London. The display area was renamed the Polish Olympic Center and a multi-media showcase was presented and titled, “A History of 124 years of the Polish Sports Movement.” The Center hosted a different cultural and business events everyday throughout the 2012 London Olympic Games.

R.J. Rolak reporting.

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Polish-American is Living her Olympic Dream

By Raymond Rolak

Maria Michta. Photo courtesy of the USA Track & Field

Maria Mitchta is living her dream. With help, determination and the support of a whole community she is going to London for the 2012 Olympics. Her sport is 20,000 meter Race Walking and she won the U.S. Trials held in Eugene, Oregon.

Maria talks confidently about her support, especially from her high school sweetheart Joey Coffey. She gushes with pride about her Polish-American roots. Her family is paramount to her, especially her mom and dad, Sue and Rich Michta. She brags about her siblings, Ricky, Kristie and Katie and growing up on Long Island, New York. They are all going to London to cheer her on, to help support her excellence.

She is inspired by the stories from her grandfather, Chester, who came from a rural village in Poland.

At the 20-K Race Walk trials at the University of Oregon, her mother went hoarse with the constant yells of encouragement. The former Long Island University-Post cross country and track standout had a finish line time of 1 hour, 34 minutes, 53 seconds at the Olympic Trials.

All the support helps. The real satisfaction comes from her individual perseverance. It has been a long road. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association is one of the few states that have Race Walk in the state Track and Field championships. Mitchta was a three time state champion at Sachem High School in Long Island.

“I played soccer and really enjoyed that,” she said. “My mom and dad really gave us all great opportunities.”

Maria is a constant ambassador for her sport and she has become a world traveler. She has already competed in 11 different countries. She is the first Long Island University-Post student-athlete to ever qualify for an Olympic team.

Most impressive is her focus toward academics. She graduated as Valedictorian in 2008 from Long Island University-Post with a 4.0 GPA. The determined doctoral candidate is working in microbiology, analyzing the Hepatitis-C virus at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai College of Medicine.

Race walking differs from running in that it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground and straighten their front knee when the foot makes contact with the ground, keeping it straightened until the knee passes under the body. Judges evaluate the technique of race walkers and report fouls which may lead to disqualification. All decisions are done by the eye of the judge and no outside technology is used in making judging resolutions.

The U.S. Olympic Trials in Track and Field were at the historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The Olympic Trials had more than 1,000 qualifiers competing for Olympic berths in their respective events.

Maria said it best in her diary, “The logo of the trials was: Amazing Awaits! And that’s exactly how I came away from that race, amazing awaits, I had 4 years to turn an 8th place non-Olympic Standard performance into a first place victory complete with an Olympic Games Standard. Every day brings me one more step closer to achieving my dream. It’s what motivates me every day to get up on frigid cold or sweltering hot mornings and get out there training, often alone, all in the pursuit of making the 2012 Olympic Team. My motto has always been Dream, Believe, and Become. I’ve had the Dream since 1996, I truly began to believe in myself in 2010, and I am currently training to my fullest until I Become an Olympian!”

Michta has become an Olympian. Maria, along with her USA teammates, is now headed for the Olympic Village in London.

The Race Walk is dominated by Russia’s Olga Kaniskina. Kaniskina won gold in Beijing and since then she also won the 2011 world championship. Other top rivals figure to be Russian teammates Yelena Lashmanova and Anisya Kirdyapkina. China’s Liu Hong and Shenjie Qieyang, along with Italy’s Elisa Rigaudo will be medal contenders. Michta will be the lone American competitor.

NBC will televise 12 hours of live Track and Field events from London. The opening ceremonies will be Friday, July 27th and the women’s 20-K Race Walk finals at the 2012 London Olympics will be August 11.

John Dabrowski contributed

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