By Kylie Ambu
Victory park was full of energy on Saturday evening when Albion College and the Albion Elementary and Middle School teamed for The Art of Noise: Nothing but Talent Benefit Concert. During the two-hour show, the audience sat to enjoy dancing, singing and spoken word.
Sonic Boom, Albion College’s hip-hop team, organized the concert in hopes of raising funds for equipment to better the elementary and middle school dance team. The group has worked with the youth’s team over the course of this and last year. Saturday’s concert featured acts from both Albion College and the Albion community.
Ebonie Williams, Detroit junior and president of Albion College’s hip-hop team, managed the benefit concert. Williams hopes that the collaboration between the school and the college will not only tighten the bond between the college and the community, but that it will also keep the youth of Albion involved in productive and healthy activities.
“There’s not a lot of things to do in the community, so a lot of the kids are just in the streets,” Williams said. “Dance can be an outlet that brings out the best in them.”
While there were various talented acts, the pieces that stole the show were those performed by the Albion Elementary and Middle School dancers. As parents held their video cameras up, pride beaming on their faces, the children danced with joy to the beat of contemporary music. The crowd cheered wildly as the children performed, and at the end of the show, participation awards were handed out to the children as they were recognized on-by-one.
Two members of the Albion Elementary and Middle School dance team, Janyece Larry and Dasahi White, were overjoyed about their performance on Saturday evening. The fifth graders shared that they truly appreciate the work that Williams and Albion College does with their school. When asked what their favorite part of the hip-hop teamwork with Albion College was, the girls answered, “dance” in unison.
Working with Williams and the students at Albion Elementary and Middle School on the hip-hop program are Elijah Armstrong Jr. and Brittany Peoples, the community volunteer coaches of Albion school’s dance team. Armstrong initially coached cheerleading at Albion, but after seeing the response from teaching a hip-hop class, his direction of focus quickly turned.
“We started off with a little hip-hop dance class, and it turned from two students to probably about 30 or 40,” Armstrong said. “That’s when we partnershiped with Albion College and we were blessed to have Ebonie [Williams] and Ashlee [Bradford] come over. They have been such a great help.”
Ashley Bradford, Detroit junior and vice president of Sonic Boom, dedicates her time, alongside friend Williams, to work with the dance students of Albion Elementary and Middle School. She is incredibly passionate about the program.
“Working with the community, we hope to build a stronger bond between the community and the college,” Bradford said. “I chose to help with this event for the simple fact that the children are our future and I refuse to allow our future to be anything but great. [Working with the students] shows them that there are other outlets than clowning in the hallway and the streets all day. We let them express their selves through dance without judging how they dance and what they dance to. Each student is different, and we encourage them to express their selves differently. Be free. Be yourself. Just dance.”
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