In February, UAGC's Poetry Club hosted an annual Music and Poetry Synchronized (MAPS) concert with the student musicians and performers of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School from Pioneer Valley, MA.
Under the direction of UAGC English teacher Felix Rivera, with Pioneer Valley teachers, UAGC and PVPA students engage in a yearlong dialogue of the arts, during which UAGC's poets send original pieces to their peers at PVPA, who arrange the poems into musical performance pieces. The concert, conducted twice each year, once at UAGC and once at PVPA, is the culminating call-and-response, show-casing the students' talents and efforts, and highlighting the power of art to bring students together across cultural and geographic differences.
Students' work explore topics central to teenage life on the brink of adulthood -- determining self identity; experiences with love, betrayal, fear, pain and hope; challenges and joys of family; the scars of abuse; and the meaning of friendship. Additionally, several poets venture into point-of-view and fiery protest. PVPA students, 7th and 8th graders, respond with well-executed performances, including blues-driven rock, singer-songwriter folk, and soulful renditions.