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Bicknell Center enriches lives of area students
Pianist Jason Farnham interacts with elementary school students at a concert in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.

Bicknell Center enriches lives of area students

The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts is having a big impact and some of those who are benefiting the most are the youngest patrons.

Last fall, the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts welcomed its 100,000th guest. Center Director Joe Firman said the youngsters who helped make up those big numbers are some of his favorite visitors to the Bicknell Center.

That includes the 700 elementary school students from Pittsburg who filed into the Bicknell Center for a special concert by pianist Jason Farnham on Jan. 26. Farnham performed the special youth concert in advance of his regular show on Jan. 28.

From the minute he walked onto the stage, Farnham had the students engaged. His show, half entertainment and half music lesson, included everything from Offenbach to the theme song of “Sponge Bob Square Pants.” He wove basic music lessons into a show that had the kids laughing and dancing.

“I’m excited anytime we can have a show like this for students,” said Firman. “This is how we not only enrich the lives of students, but also build the next generation of audiences for concerts, plays and other performances.”

Stephanie White, who teaches at Westside Elementary School in Pittsburg, said Farnham’s concert was something that wouldn’t have been available to her students before the Bicknell Center was built.

"This provided an experience for my students who otherwise would not typically attend a concert like this due to lack of resources,” White said. “This facility exposes them to the same kind of venue that you would find in a larger city. My kids loved it!”

The Jason Farnham Concert, the Southeast Kansas Symphony’s Children’s Concert, and a special performance of the PSU Theatre’s production of “Frankenstein” are just a few of the special events held recently for students at the Bicknell Center.

“We’re always looking for new ways to engage area students in the arts,” Firman said. “It’s great to know that the Bicknell Center is having such an impact on the region and that it’s doing so for people of all ages.”

Below: Youngsters learn about the instruments in an "Instrument Petting Zoo" hosted by the Southeast Kansas Symphony in advance of a Children's Concert.

Symphony petting zoo

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