The Young Americans bringing stage fun to Ferndale

Kids to learn stage performance over three days; production to follow

By Brent Lindquist
[email protected]

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.50.11 AM FERNDALE — Ferndale students will get the chance to light up the stage when the Young Americans visit the Ferndale School District in early March.
  The Young Americans is a performing arts college located in Corona, California, that travels via its International Music Outreach Tours program in order to promote the importance of music education through its “Turn up the Music” program.
  Vista Middle School teacher Fran Genger has close ties to the program in that her daughter, Maddie, is a third-year student with Young Americans.
  “They provide a two-year college experience, plus a tour group,” Fran Genger said. “They have groups that are touring all over the world.”
  Maddie is part of the U.S. tour group. Young Americans also tours the United Kingdom and Japan. Each group consists of about 40 kids, Fran Genger said, who travel to towns, communities and schools throughout the country.
  “They put on an intensive three-day workshop for kids in third through 12th grades,” she said. “It’s super cool.”
  Genger said the program helps build confidence in kids, both on stage and in their regular lives.
  “It’s about getting kids to step out,” she said.
  The workshop will take place from March 3-5 at Ferndale High School. The Young Americans will spend Thursday setting up, with participants beginning the workshop that afternoon following school. The workshop will cover a variety of performance topics, including singing, dancing, improv, acting and writing, Genger said.
  Participants will then work all day Friday and Saturday. The performance they learn will then be performed Saturday evening. The Young Americans will perform for the first half of the show, and will be joined by Ferndale students for the second half.
  Fran Genger made the workshop happen after her daughter called and told her that the Young Americans U.S. tour would be making its way up the Interstate 5 corridor.
  “She said, ‘We’ve gotta book a show,’” Fran Genger said. “We’ve been working on this since last spring. It’s been a big process.”
  Much of that process involved working with teachers and administrators to get the time and space necessary to put on the workshop, in addition to simply getting the word out about the program.
  The workshop costs $59 per student, though scholarships are available from the Young Americans and through Ferndale’s parent-teacher organizations.
  “I met with all the PTOs last spring, and they built it into their budgets to help with scholarships,” Fran Genger said. “Our goal is that any kids who want to do it can do it, regardless of finances. They can sign up for a partial or full scholarship.”
  About 70 kids have signed up so far, and the total number of participants varies from location to location. Genger said 250 is an ideal number, but 500 kids have signed up for a single workshop before.
  “It kind of depends on the town,” she said.
  Next week on Feb. 4, a Young Americans promotional group will travel to Ferndale schools to tell kids about the program and to encourage them to sign up.
  For more information, visit the, or email Fran Genger at [email protected] She is currently searching for families willing to house the Young Americans who will be visiting Ferndale; email her if interested.