Artist Connect: Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo, ETH-NOH-TEC

Young Audiences of Northern California is celebrating our 60th year of providing arts experiences to students in the Bay Area. At this exciting moment in our history, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past 60 years as well as look towards the future of Young Audiences. The upcoming “Artist Connect” posts will feature artists who have been with us for many years as well as some of our new artists. We hope you enjoy a journey from our past to our future.

Longstanding San Francisco artists, Eth-Noh-Tec’s Artistic Co-Directors Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo have contributed greatly to the Asian American performing arts movement. Both have trained and performed in traditional and contemporary art forms for over two decades. With a focused fusion, they have truly met the goals of their name Eth-Noh-Tec: the weaving [tec] together of distinctive cultural elements of the East and West [eth] to create new possibilities [noh].

Longstanding San Francisco artists, Eth-Noh-Tec’s Artistic Co-Directors Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo have contributed greatly to the Asian American performing arts movement. Both have trained and performed in traditional and contemporary art forms for over two decades. With a focused fusion, they have truly met the goals of their name Eth-Noh-Tec: the weaving [tec] together of distinctive cultural elements of the East and West [eth] to create new possibilities [noh].

Getting to know...Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo

Can you tell us a little bit about your art form?
I specialize in Asian instruments both wind and percussion, as well as the storytelling  of traditional pan Asian folktales and myths. The wind instruments I play, mostly flutes, are typically made of bamboo: Shakuhachi (Japan), Ditze (China), Kubing (Filipino jaw harp) as well as a variety of instruments from Thailand, Indonesia, and Siberia.  I am most skilled and have knowledge of traditional Filipino gong music from the southern island of Mindanao.  Kulintang, an ensemble music of bronze gongs and drumming, was the music I studied in the late 1970’s under the tutelage of master musicians teaching at the University of Washington. Later I studied with master artists in both Hawaii and while in residence in the Philippines. Upon my return I pioneered the study and performance of this music and created the first music groups in California. By the mid-80s I refocused my performance and creative work with storytelling. Along with my wife and creative partner Nancy Wang, we formed Eth-Noh-Tec, storytelling theater company that was a fusion of music, movement, and narrative. Inspired by the time held tradition of storytelling found around the world, we focus on both Pan-Asian and Asian American stories. The body of work found in both folktales and mythology are rich with metaphors that although maybe thousands of years old, have much to say about modern life. We also have created a body of work that address is contemporary Asian American themes:  immigration, racism, cultural heritage and identity. 

How long have you been practicing your art? How did you get started?

Eth-Noh-Tec was officially created in 1982, through the creative and matrimonial union of myself and Nancy Wang. We were introduced to each other through the Asian American theater.

What is your teaching philosophy and how do you use that to approach each new audience/classroom?

Here are some of the principles that I keep in mind when teaching or performing. All students are excited about learning about other cultures when given a chance to participate. Learning about other art forms and cultures of the world opens imagination for young minds, especially when presented with joy, inclusivity, and relevancy to their daily lives. As with any good education or teaching techniques, it’s not about what the teacher or artist knows... it’s shifting the focus on the students and the audience, gauging their reaction, being able to shift energy, performance dynamics, and new information so that the listener is always in discovery mode. Discovery is what our art education is all about.

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school?

My programs in music, dance, theater and storytelling integrates all the elements of language arts, geography and social studies, so the education becomes a fun experience.

How do the lessons and skills you teach students about or through your art form apply to their everyday life outside of the classroom?

Performing these traditional stories and music also celebrates the need for diverse cultures in America. It cultivates respect and understanding for all peoples. Also because of the inherent value found in storytelling, i.e. morals, self reflection, Heritage and cultural identity… it underscores that education moves beyond mere schoolwork and into touches cultural values and is socially relevant to our diverse communities.

What made you decide to become a roster teaching artist with Young Audiences?

I was going through a big crisis with career as a performing artist. For years I had started and trained the first traditional Filipino Kulintang group in SF Bay Area. There was power grabbing amongst the members- which resulted in a betrayal and my naïve self lost out. “What was I to do with all this traditional music knowledge?”. Young Audiences came along at the right time when I could take my traditional performance knowledge of this music and dance and introduce it to school children. That was the beginning of “Kids Love Kulintang”, a now 33-year-old arts education program ! eventually it evolve to pan Asian Storytelling in the show called “ Asia FantAsia”.  Young Audiences made this all possible!

What are three words that describe your performances?

Engaging. Inspiring. Fun
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Thank you to Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo for providing these responses.

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Artist Connect: Derrick D'MAR Martin

Young Audiences of Northern California is celebrating our 60th year of providing arts experiences to students in the Bay Area. At this exciting moment in our history, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past 60 years as well as look towards the future of Young Audiences. The upcoming “Artist Connect” posts will feature artists who have been with us for many years as well as some of our new artists. We hope you enjoy a journey from our past to our future.

Talented drummer/percussionist, producer and songwriter, Derrick Martin has been performing internationally for the past 20 years. Having worked in studios from Los Angeles to New York, Derrick toured the world with Rock & Roll Legend Little Richard Band for 17 years. His assemblies focus on the drum set and its history in American music.

Talented drummer/percussionist, producer and songwriter, Derrick Martin has been performing internationally for the past 20 years. Having worked in studios from Los Angeles to New York, Derrick toured the world with Rock & Roll Legend Little Richard Band for 17 years. His assemblies focus on the drum set and its history in American music.

Getting to know...Derrick D’MAR Martin

Can you tell us a little bit about your art form?

My art form is playing drums. The program is called Drums & More. Drums have been a part of humanity since the beginning of time and even though my focus is on the drum set, which is one of the few instruments that was actually invented in the United States, I also cover some African percussion and the importance of rhythm and pitch in our everyday communication. Playing drums is fun for students on another level because you get to be free, loud, soft, happy, subtle and aggressive all from the same source. It’s a lot like just being human.

How long have you been practicing your art? How did you get started?

I’ve been playing drums for over thirty years. I picked up my first pair of sticks around age 6 and began my formal studies in a middle school band program at age 13. I went on to major in music at Jackson State University and from there I started my professional career and I’ve been going nonstop since then travelling the world and being passionate about playing music and educating students.

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school?

My presentation is called Drums & More. It covers the history of the drum set in American popular music. The presentation helps students in a kind of sly way. We deal with history, reading and communication fundamentals, mathematics and the importance of having a great attitude. I say in a sly way because all of these lessons are weaved into the drums. We deal with the history of where the drum set was created which gives me an opportunity to express the importance of always having a good foundation. I often use an example of learning to read. First you must know your alphabet, then you learn vocabulary words which enable you to build sentences and so forth. I explain to the students that before we can discuss the music we music focus on the foundation or beginning. This goes on through the entire presentation. I like to keep it exciting and upbeat. It moves quickly from one thing to the next. We also deal with math by explaining how to use counting to four to make music. This process not only deals with counting, but the students learn the importance of respecting each other and working together. I also have them all repeat my mantra which is, “Success is a learned behavior.” We discuss success as something we have a chance to practice each day. It doesn’t just happen.

How do the lessons and skills you teach students about or through your art form apply to their everyday life outside of the classroom?

The lessons taught through the Drums & More program are simple ones that carry over into every aspect of the students’ lives. Respect for education, arts and each other are the pillars of the presentation. We advise each student to learn to play an instrument. Not as a way to be famous or a professional musician but to make them better people. Playing music makes them learn discipline, time management and conflict resolution among many other valuable life skills.

Why do you believe it is important for every student to have access to the arts?

I simply believe that arts education is as important to a student’s life as are food and water. The arts have always been an integral part of education. Learning arts develops both sides of the brain in a way that is unique. The arts can also help children find positive outlets and ways to focus their time and energy in a positive and productive manner.

What are three words that describe your performances?

Energetic, Educational and FUN!

Quote from Dean of Students at K-8 School:

“{Derrick Martin] was so good the kids, faculty, and staff were talking about him all day and even this morning.  Best assembly ever.”


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Thank you to Derrick Martin for providing these responses.

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We believe creative, artistic experiences can transform children

Miguel was an extremely bright third-grader, and like many, lacked self-confidence. He was hesitant to try new things in class and did not always follow his teacher’s instructions. And then Miguel’s class participated in an artist residency provided by Young Audiences of Northern California. Young Audiences partnered Susan, a professional mural artist, with Miguel’s third grade teacher to conduct several hands-on lessons in his classroom. Susan encouraged students to use their imaginations to compose underwater scenes on ceramic tiles and to paint their compositions with colorful glazes.  Miguel responded—he became engaged and his confidence blossomed. His teacher noticed he was more enthusiastic in class and other areas of his academic performance improved:

“My students were asked by the artist to draw a specific pattern, and I noticed Miguel just wasn’t following directions, but I didn’t say anything. The teaching artist encouraged Miguel to embrace his own creativity. I saw at that moment that sometimes you have to let the child find their own voice, to find their own way. To give this boy an opportunity to unleash his creativity gave him confidence. He is so happy and engaged.”

Art in the classroom gives children the tools to make meaning out of their experiences and enables them to grow. Now, Miguel participates more in class and is interested in trying new things.

Young Audiences transforms children (like Miguel) and by extension their communities. Each year Young Audiences, with the support of people like you, provides children with opportunities to experience an art form demonstrated by a professional artist; understand an art form and its history and culture; create the art form and connect their learning to other areas of study and to their lives and world. Many children that engage with professional artists from Young Audiences experience art for the first time. Like Miguel, many of them transform into better students, engage more with other children and teachers, and improve in other academic subjects.

As we observe our 60th Anniversary of creating art experiences that inspire young people, expand learning, and enliven communities, we rely on your support to help us achieve our mission.

Meet our NEW Teaching Artists for 2018-2019!

This year we are excited to welcome seven new teaching artists to our roster. These artists expand our roster through each of the four disciplines and offer new and unique cultural programming. Our goal to reach children where they live, learn and play  will be accomplished through the mastery of these artists and will enrich the communities in which we work.

ALONZO KING LINES BALLET : Alonzo King LINES Ballet just celebrated its 35th year in San Francisco and continues to act as home to a world-renowned contemporary ballet company, outstanding education and extensive community programs. LINES educational philosophy honors the power of discovery, collaboration, expression and individuality

ALONZO KING LINES BALLET: Alonzo King LINES Ballet just celebrated its 35th year in San Francisco and continues to act as home to a world-renowned contemporary ballet company, outstanding education and extensive community programs. LINES educational philosophy honors the power of discovery, collaboration, expression and individuality

CYNTHIA PEPPER:  Cynthia Pepper has been a dancer, teacher, filmmaker and choreographer for over 30 years in both public and private California school districts. She enjoys bringing her love of both contemporary and cultural dance into her classrooms with over 25 international dance forms to choose from.

CYNTHIA PEPPER: Cynthia Pepper has been a dancer, teacher, filmmaker and choreographer for over 30 years in both public and private California school districts. She enjoys bringing her love of both contemporary and cultural dance into her classrooms with over 25 international dance forms to choose from.

ASUAL ASWAD:  Asual Aswad has instructed Bay Area young people in the arts for many years.  He is a resident artist at Southern Exposure and a California Arts Council Resident Artist with the East Oakland Youth Development Center.      

ASUAL ASWAD: Asual Aswad has instructed Bay Area young people in the arts for many years.  He is a resident artist at Southern Exposure and a California Arts Council Resident Artist with the East Oakland Youth Development Center.

 

 

DERRICK D'MAR MARTIN:  Talented drummer/percussionist, producer and songwriter, Derrick Martin has been performing internationally for the past 20 years. Having worked in studios from Los Angeles to New York, Derrick toured the world with Rock & Roll Legend Little Richard Band for 17 years.  

DERRICK D'MAR MARTIN: Talented drummer/percussionist, producer and songwriter, Derrick Martin has been performing internationally for the past 20 years. Having worked in studios from Los Angeles to New York, Derrick toured the world with Rock & Roll Legend Little Richard Band for 17 years.  

KULTURA KAPWA:  This dynamic ensemble presents the pre-colonial music, dance and attire traditions of Mindanao, Southern Philippines and Kalinga, Northern Philippines. All trained in the traditional manner by indigenous Philippine culture bearers, the Kultura Kapwa musicians and dancers take pride in introducing young people to the joyful and unifying power of tribal Philippine polyrhythmic percussion music, song and dance.

KULTURA KAPWA: This dynamic ensemble presents the pre-colonial music, dance and attire traditions of Mindanao, Southern Philippines and Kalinga, Northern Philippines. All trained in the traditional manner by indigenous Philippine culture bearers, the Kultura Kapwa musicians and dancers take pride in introducing young people to the joyful and unifying power of tribal Philippine polyrhythmic percussion music, song and dance.

OPERA CULTURA : Opera Cultura's mission is to explore the Latino - Hispanic cultural experience through music theater and opera, while providing opportunities for the community to participate as creators, learners, and performers. We accomplish this by presenting the work of composer Héctor Armienta, showcasing other artists, and training young people in the performing arts. By doing so, we create a cultural bridge between communities. 

OPERA CULTURA: Opera Cultura's mission is to explore the Latino - Hispanic cultural experience through music theater and opera, while providing opportunities for the community to participate as creators, learners, and performers. We accomplish this by presenting the work of composer Héctor Armienta, showcasing other artists, and training young people in the performing arts. By doing so, we create a cultural bridge between communities. 

JIAYAN (JESSIE) YONG : Jiayan (Jessie) Yong has over 10 years of teaching experience and seeks to cultivate an appreciation for the culture behind and the techniques involved in the creation of traditional Chinese dance. As a performer trained in classical, modern, and Chinese folk dance, she has enjoyed providing students with opportunities to immerse themselves in Chinese culture while realizing their own artistic potential.

JIAYAN (JESSIE) YONG: Jiayan (Jessie) Yong has over 10 years of teaching experience and seeks to cultivate an appreciation for the culture behind and the techniques involved in the creation of traditional Chinese dance. As a performer trained in classical, modern, and Chinese folk dance, she has enjoyed providing students with opportunities to immerse themselves in Chinese culture while realizing their own artistic potential.

Artist Connect: Susan Peterson

In an effort to connect our communities and networks with our teaching artists, we are beginning a new blog series called "Artist Connect". Each week, we will feature one of our artists on our roster and dive deeper into their art form and history with Young Audiences. 

Susan Peterson just recently completed a semester long residency at Longfellow Elementary School. During the 18 week residency, Susan worked with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms for a total of 72 creative sessions. Students were given a theme of "Ocean" and were able to have their creativity take over. The result is a beautiful mural, installed at the school for future generations. Read below to find out more about Susan Peterson and her passion for arts education.

Susan Peterson has taught ceramics, papermaking, bookbinding, printmaking, mask making, and sculpture. In addition to teaching, she creates and exhibits her works of sculpture, much of which has been inspired by her travels to Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Susan Peterson has taught ceramics, papermaking, bookbinding, printmaking, mask making, and sculpture. In addition to teaching, she creates and exhibits her works of sculpture, much of which has been inspired by her travels to Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Getting to know...Susan Peterson

Can you tell us a little bit about your art form?

I have been a ceramic sculptor for many years. My imagery was animals and made commentary on environmental issues. I incorporated found objects into the pieces. These days I am making collages from magazines with imagery of flowers, rose windows, and mandalas.

What has been the most memorable part of the programs you have brought to students with Young Audiences?

All the tile murals have been my most memorable. They create such a strong validation of the children’s artwork, and look fantastic.

How do the lessons and skills you teach students about or through your art form apply to their everyday life outside of the classroom?

We talk about all things in the world that are made of clay – from the tiles in your kitchen or bath, to the dishes you eat on to the bricks that buildings are made of.

Why do you believe it is important for every student to have access to the arts?

Many children suffer trauma. A recent study by a pediatric doctor revealed that 67% of Americans have experienced trauma. Art heals. Art is like vitamins, it feeds you.  Also, there are many different ways we learn. Art making is one way that we can absorb knowledge. Some students do not enjoy school, but love art class. We can sneak lessons of math, science, etc into art class. Making a lesson visual can make it more exciting. I love what I do because it brings such joy to so many. I also like the quote “Science makes life easier, Art makes it worthwhile”.

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school?

Ceramics has connections to both the visual arts and science. We do this through connections  to particular subject matter that the children are studying, such as animals, oceans, and health. Most recently, I used the current volcanic action on the Big Island of Hawaii and the lava flow to make a parallel to the process ceramic glazes go through to transform from dry chalky paints to a rich, glossy finish.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thank you to Susan Peterson for providing these responses. Learn more about her here!

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