“I feel I’ve been stretched, and also inspired. We’re stretching our comfort zones and expanding our sense of community,” said North Shore Choral Society (NSCS) board member Linda Faller about the organization’s collaborative “Arts Reach Evanston” program, designed to help provide a more equitable distribution of experience with the arts in Evanston.

As the NSCS prepares for its 83rd choral season, their Arts Reach Evanston program continues to provide drop-in interactive arts sessions to serve kindergarten through 5th-grade students in the Fleetwood-Jourdain after-school and summer camp programs.

Community funding in 2017 enabled the group to purchase musical instruments, including bucket drums, lummi sticks and rhythm sticks. Last summer, Evanston diversity consultant and musician Gilo Kwesi Logan led drumming workshops that included 60 children enrolled in Fleetwood-Jourdain summer camp programs.

Most recently, on Oct. 19, Ms. Faller represented Arts Reach Evanston in collaborating with the Evanston Dance Ensemble’ second company (ede2) to offer two interactive sessions for children in Fleetwood’s after-school program. Led by ede2 director Allison Kurtz Volkers and assistant to the director Kara Rhoze, the company of talented seventh and eighth grade performers engaged the students in movement and dance activities related to their upcoming 2019 performance of “On Time,” inspired by Abha Dawesar’s 2013 TED Talk, “Life in the Digital Now.”

NSCS and Evanston Dance Ensemble have been working together since 2015, when together with the Evanston Symphony and Actors Gymnasium, they formed the not-for-profit “Enrich Evanston.” Generous community funding enabled representatives from the four arts organizations to identify ways to bring equity and access to Evanston arts. Arts Reach Evanston grew from NSCS’s participation in the Enrich Evanston initiative.

The not-for-profit NSCS is a 140-member community chorus led by Music Director Julia Davids. Founded in 1936 and incorporated as a not-for-profit in 1978, the group performs a wide range of choral music and actively pursues opportunities for educational outreach and engagement in the community through partnerships. The NSCS will perform Handel’s “Judas MacCabaeus” with full orchestra and soloists on Nov. 18 at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston at 3 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.northshorechoral.org.

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.