The Mountain Times

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The Annual Arts Samba Parade dances through Castleton

At 10:30 a.m. on the Fourth of July, Main Street in Castleton will be filled with giant puppets, live music, and many wild surprises. Vermont high school students attending the VT Governor's Institute on the Arts produce the entire production.

The students encourage, everyone to join in and move your body to the samba band as it propels the parade along. Watch the colors of the rainbow go by, signifying a full day from dawn to night, as dancing sculptures display their personalities and curbside poets howl at the moon.

The Vermont Governor's Institute on the Arts, known as GIA (, is a two-week summer arts-enrichment residency program for 130 Vermont high school students entering 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.
Since 1984, students from around the state have gathered to create an unique and fun learning community while taking classes with experienced, professional teaching artists. GIA is not specifically a gifted and talented program, but exists to offer students with all kinds of interests the opportunity to try something new, embrace different perspectives, engage in a unique community, and make connections with peers across the state.
The Institute strives to offer classes unlikely to appear in Vermont high schools' art curricula. Students choose classes in two artistic disciplines (from such diverse fields as physical arts, dance, theater, writing, music, and visual arts), community chorus, evening performances, and chances to attend and lead workshops in many areas.
GIA 2012 is being held at Castleton State College from June 24 to July 8.

The Annual Samba Parade, is a highlight for the students and for the community.
GIA's Director is Woodstock native Elizabeth Frascoia, who splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles. Frascoia, having graduated from Harvard studying psychology and neuroscience, has also traveled all over the United States as a jazz trombonist, vocalist, and educator, and has performed internationally in South America, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean. Her professional credits include national television (American Idol, Conan O'Brien, The Today Show) and employers such as Michael Bolton, Jill Sobule, Matt Wilson, Kenny Wollesen, and St. Vincent. She recently traveled to Russia as part of a Burlington ambassadorial team, and is an active music clinician in schools around the country.  

Frascoia believes that giving back to the artistic community - and to Vermont - is an essential part of being an artist. She attended the Vermont Governor's Institute on the Arts (GIA) in 1994, and is thrilled to have a hand in affording other Vermont students the opportunities she has gained from the arts. Her team members include several other alums of the program including, Sophie Wood, a performer, clown, and arts organizer, and Corey Harrower, a dance artist.

Tagged: Castleton, Samba, Parade