UAGC's Poetry Club hosts 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 on Thursday, May 21.
Under the direction of UAGC English teachers Felix Rivera and Caitlyn McNeill, and Pioneer Valley teachers Tom Willits, Matthew King and Laura Davis, 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 spring, 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, exploring life and death from the perspective of ghosts, and fiery protest via both cultural politics and a refreshing stance against male-centrism, sexual violence and the rising trend in young girls abandoning the efforts of feminism. PVPA students, 7th and 8th graders, respond with well-executed performances, including blues-driven rock, singer-songwriter folk, and soulful renditions.