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Thursday Gala Celebrates UALR-CI Partnership

More than 50 children and youth will celebrate the 15th year anniversary of  UALR Children International, honoring friends, sponsors, and partners through song and dance, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28 at University Theatre in UALR’s Center for Performing Arts.

The event will include a video detailing the work of Children International at UALR, which has touched more than 17,000 students through its programs. Members of the audience will include representatives from more than 20 organizations working in partnership with CI, parents, UALR faculty, staff, and students; CI graduates, and volunteers. CI students enrolled in the seven-year College Prep Program will serve as ushers

A reception following will include tables with children selling products from businesses they created in CI’s after school Kids Biz Entrepreneurship Class.

The performance – directed by Dr. Wayne Chapman, professor in UALR’s Department of Theatre and Dance – will reflect all aspects of UALR Children International and will include a variety of community artists and volunteers working side-by-side with children.

“The piece, “Antema Africana,” celebrates Children International’s connection with Africa and our own African American and European roots,” he said.

Artists participating in the performance include former Chicago Lyric Opera soprano Susan Belcher as musical director, pianist, and keyboardist; and guitarist Michael Heavner. Both are members of the UALR faculty. Also participating are African percussionist and storyteller Zinse Agginie, Valerie Foster and the UALR Children International Gospel Choir; Charlie Simpson and the UALR Children International Steppers; and Amaria Caruthers Jones and the UALR Children International Dancers.

Jim Cook, president of Children International, will attend the event. UALR CI students and director Cheryl Chapman will make a special announcement of a new UALR CI initative.