CENTER STAGE – Seed to Roots gives student performers the chance to be on stage again
February 25, 2021 by Katryna Perera
Lauren Tisdale, a student at Oakdale Elementary School, performs Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” on the guitar at The Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick. Staff photo by Graham Cullen
Frederick County Public Schools students were finally given the opportunity to perform on stage again after a year of studios being shut down and recitals being canceled.
This weekend’s Seeds to Roots, a recording event launched by three FCPS parents, will feature artistic performances by approximately 35 students, all of which will be streamed online.
Many of the singers, dancers and musicians from elementary school to high school will showcase their talents at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick.
Students who chose to participate were given the option to record their performance themselves or take advantage of performing at the Weinberg, which offered up its stage and professional recording equipment to help make the experience extra special for students.
Desiree Tucker, one of the parents who organized the program, said the Weinberg was happy to work with them over the past month to put the production together.
“To have that stage to yourself is amazing and takes bravery. It’s inspirational,” she said.
The event, which is also meant to celebrate Black History Month, came together after Tucker had planned a similar, smaller-scale talent show for her sons in December. Students have not had many opportunities to perform over the past year, she said, and Tucker and other parents wanted to give that back to them.
“The purpose is to give kids something to look forward to — a chance to perform and be recognized for their hard work. It’s been a year since kids have had a performance to look forward to,” Tucker said.
For the program, Nicolina Stein, a ninth-grader at Oakdale High School, recorded two different tap dances at the Weinberg. She has been tap dancing for 12 years. She said the chance to prepare for Seeds to Roots was a welcome creative break from the pandemic and virtual learning.
“I haven’t gotten the opportunity to perform on stage ever since the lockdown … the opportunity to perform again on stage, just to have that was amazing,” she said.
Tap dancing allows Stein to express herself, and she feels Seeds to Roots has allowed other students to express themselves creatively again.
“I get to express myself through my movement, and I just like feeling the beat of the song and letting go when I’m tapping … this gives the opportunity for everyone to show what they have, and it gives us the opportunity to be on a stage and express what we know and express ourselves,” she said.
Marie Kleimola, an eighth-grader at Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School, will be singing and playing the guitar. Being up on the Weinberg stage was a little scary at first, she said, but once she got into her performance, everything else faded away.
“At first it was very nerve-racking but … I was so happy [to perform] again. I sing in the shower, but I was so happy to sing in front of people again,” she said.
For Lauren Tisdale, a fifth-grader at Oakdale Elementary School, participating in Seeds to Roots was a chance for her to get comfortable with the stage. She has only been playing electric guitar for two years, so the chance to perform at the Weinberg helped her get over some stage fright.
Emma Dubnansky, a seventh-grader at Oakdale Middle School, hopes Seeds to Roots will inspire other students to get involved with music and the arts. Dubnansky recorded a violin solo for her performance.
Tucker said she hopes this opportunity motivates students —both those who participated and those who didn’t.
“I hope it encourages kids to continue learning, to continue to practice their art. I hope it gives those who want to learn an art form hope and the ability to say, ‘I can do that, too,’” she said. “I hope children look at themselves on that stage and in their submitted videos and think, ‘Wow, one day I’ll be back to a sold-out Weinberg Center or Carnegie or Théâtre Antique D’Orange.’”
Tucker further hopes viewers receive the main message of Seeds to Roots, which is that Black history is all history.
“American history is drenched in the fertile soil of labor of Black Americans who contributed to every aspect of the foundation of what we know as America today. The seeds of that labor — just like the children who are performing — contribute to the foundation of our communities and society and culture in which we all live,” Tucker said.
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