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Throwback Thursday: 1,100 Freedom School Students Got the Chance to See Annie

July 29, 2015

Two weeks ago, buses were unloading hundreds of young students in front of Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center for a special performance of Annie. The energy was undeniable, and it was certainly a day we will all remember for a long time.

Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Individual Giving Manager Tara Spil (who works with some of the generous people who help make these things possible) gives a little bit of insight into the program and how you can help make it happen again!

Each summer, hundreds of students at 19 site locations from across the Charlotte region gather for a six-week enriching summer program called Freedom Schools. Freedom Schools gives children three fundamental resources needed to develop their potential. 1. Literacy skills. 2. Character strengths for decision-making. 3. Community that believes in them.

Buses dropped off 1,100 students for a special Thursday matinee performance of Annie!

Buses drop off 1,100 students for a special Thursday matinee performance of Annie!

Creating a community that believes in our youths is the heart of Blumenthal Performing Arts’ mission and just what we did Thursday, July 18, when 1,100 Freedom Schools scholars came to see Annie through Blumenthal’s Arts for All initiative.

Arts for All was created to give deserving students who may not otherwise have the means a chance to experience the magic and wonder of live theater. We first worked with Freedom School Partners to bring scholars to Disney’s The Lion King in 2013. The event was such a success, we wanted to bring them back.

IMG_2785The opportunity presented itself when Annie came to town and overwhelming generosity from individuals like you made it possible. To learn more about Arts for All and other Blumenthal Performing Arts initiatives, visit BlumenthalArts.org/donate.

–Tara Spil

Check out some more amazing photos from the memorable afternoon below by photographer Daniel Coston!

Students file in for the special show!

Students file in for the special show!

Mary Nell McPherson, Executive Director of Freedom School Partners, with Pinewood Elementary student.

Mary Nell McPherson, executive director of Freedom School Partners, with a Pinewood Elementary student.

Students anxiously awaiting the start of the show!

Students eagerly awaiting the start of the show!

They were all smiles at intermission.

They were all smiles at intermission.

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