In recognition of African-American History Month, the American International School’s high school community presented the “African Rhythms: A Journey through America” on 24 February, 2012, a charity concert in support of the Youth Alive Ghana charitable organization. This cross-curricular project offered a glimpse into how sub-Saharan African cultures and the hardships of slavery have influenced 20th century American music.
“This concert is a creative journey with twists, turns, bumps, and moments of sheer joy. I welcome you with open arms to our village!” said Mr. Jason Bennett, our high school music teacher and musical director in his opening address. The venue was filled with student art work and decorated like an African village. This interactive concert featured presentations from the English and Visual & Performing Arts departments as well as a range of live performances including African cultural dances, demonstrations and historical re-enactments. The music encompassed many genres ranging from African drumming, jazz, swing, rap, hip-hop, rock, funk, Afro-Cuban to pop music. Special highlights included audience improvisation, African Ewe music, performances of Elvis Presley’s hits, original songs from High School Blues Contest organized with the English Department, “Crossing the Atlantic from Olaudah Equiano” and “Harlem Renaissance” plays by the drama students. The show ended with a finale performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, together with the concert band, African drummers, and all dancers.
A schoolwide Free Dress Fundraiser was also held on the same day to support the Youth Alive Ghana, an African-based organization working to build a better future for poor, street children through education and vocational training. A total of $17,748.50 was raised from both events. Thank you for the overwhelming support of the faculty, parents, and students, the PTA for sponsoring the food, and everyone for joining us on this wonderful journey.