American Festival for the Arts
Founded in 1993 by Houston composer and arts advocate J. Todd Frazier, American Festival for the Arts (AFA) provides high quality, community-based music education programs and performance opportunities designed primarily for youth and, through its concert series and outreach, seeks to broaden the audience for both American works and the Classical music repertory.
About AFA’s Programs
Held in Houston, Texas, since 1995, the AFA Summer Music Conservatory has been acclaimed as an outstanding opportunity for musicians from throughout Southeast Texas to work with a nationally known faculty of composers, conductors, performers and educators. Hosted by Houston ISD’s Pershing Middle School and featuring programs in orchestra, chamber music, choir, vocal studies, jazz, piano and composition, the Summer Music Conservatory auditions and enrolls more than three hundred 4th through 12th grade students representing over one hundred schools throughout Southeast Texas each year. The AFA Summer Concert Series presents as many as twenty free concerts each summer throughout the Bayou City.??Launching in 2010, the AFA Academy and Houston Girls Chorus are year-round music education and performance programs for instrumentalists and vocalists of all ages. The Academy offers instruction in choral music, chamber music and music theory from Houston’s finest professional musicians and educators – many of whom come to AFA through collaborations with AFA’s arts partners, including Houston Grand Opera HGOco, Da Camera of Houston Young Artist Program, and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Academy classes take place after school or on weekends and culminate in concert performances by both students and faculty at the end of each session. The AFA Scholarship Enrichment Fund provides students with both need-based and merit tuition assistance as well as transportation support to ensure that students have access to all of AFA’s programs regardless of their socio-economic background. In 2009, almost two-thirds of all AFA students received assistance. AFA is dedicated to the belief that financial hardship should never be a barrier to enriching a child’s life through music.
Fifteen Years: Making Music Matter
“We are very proud of this year’s American Festival for the Arts (AFA) Summer Music Conservatory program. We began this season with an exciting new partnership with the Houston Independent School District that resulted in AFA moving to a new location at the Pershing Middle School campus. This important partnership is tangible evidence of AFA’s commitment to the schools and students of Houston and of its continuing role as a safeguard for the arts in education throughout the region. In 2008, AFA also successfully launched a Middle School Choral and Vocal Studies program, thereby expanding its service to new communities of young musicians. The 2008 season saw more applications than ever before and AFA’s largest student body in its history – proof that the arts in Houston are not only growing… but with the partnership of parents, schools, school districts and our arts partners, they are thriving! On behalf of the board, our faculty and, most importantly, our students, thank you for being part of our 2008 successes and we look forward to even more in 2009.”
– Michael Remson, Executive & Artistic Director
“I have always believed that the arts play an essential role in the complete education and optimum, balanced development of an individual. The knowledge and experience gained from the study of the arts develop a person in many ways: mentally, spiritually and through building one’s confidence, concentration, self-respect and discipline. These traits are then carried into all aspects of life. The American Festival for the Arts Summer Music Conservatory offers a unique haven for aspiring youth from diverse backgrounds and independent school districts to immerse themselves in a stimulating artistic environment with peers of similar interests. AFA concerts provide students with a supportive atmosphere in which to demonstrate their achievements and allow their families, teachers and members of the community to support their learning process. As a result, AFA directly enhances the cultural and educational lives of our youth and, in turn, their families, their friends, the local arts community, its concert audiences and the well being of our cultural future.”
– J. Todd Frazier, Founder
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Title: American Festival for the Arts