Poetry, Music, Art & Dance Celebration
The 21st Annual Celebration will take place on Sunday, April 26, 2020.
Poetry Celebration Flyer (available Fall 2019)
Call for Music and Art (available Fall 2019)
Call for Dancers (available Winter 2019)
Dancer registration (available Winter 2019)
The Williamsville Poetry, Music, Art and Dance Celebration is the culmination of a year-long program which features original works created and performed by students from elementary age through high school. Each year a Guest Poet inspires and leads the program. Students come together in collaborations that culminate in the Celebration of the Guest Poet's work, student poetry, student musical compositions based on poetry, student art work based on poetry and student dances based on poetry and/or music. At the Celebration, which usually takes place in April, during National Poetry Month, the Guest Poet reads from his or her work in combination with the work of student composers, poets, dancers and artists.
Since its inception in 2000, Co-Founders/Co-Directors John Kryder and Stephen Shewan have connected students with internationally celebrated poets. Annually, approximately 2,000 students from 1st through 12th grades participate in the program by creating poetry, music, art and dance.
Richard Jones had this to say about had this to say about the 17th annual Celebration: "Anyone in doubt about the future of poetry, music, art, or dance, should consider a trip to Williamsville for the yearly student and teacher celebration of art. The honesty, heart, whimsy, and wisdom displayed by these skillful young composers, artists, dancers, and writers bears witness to an essential covenant: that we are all born to create, collaborate, and make art in all its manifestations and glory. These young people and their gifted teachers remind us that the human family is meant to share the joy and fellowship of art, artist, and audience."
Similarly, Dan Gerber, guest poet for the 16th Annual Celebration, spoke of the celebration as follows: “I’ve told many people of my experience in Buffalo and of how it has fueled my optimism for the future of the arts and of arts education. How much more deeply caring, thinking, feeling, and awake our world would be if programs similar to yours were more the norm than the exception. How much more human and humane.” “The dedication and commitment of all these young artists and their teachers has been a great gift for me.” Similarly, Carol Ann Duffy, Guest Poet for the 15th Annual Celebration, spoke of the Celebration as follows: "My visit and time with the students and staff was without doubt the most moving and inspiring time I've had as a poet working within education. To see some of my poems used in collaboration with dance, art, music and students' own writing made me look at my own work as freshly as though it had been written by someone else. In fact, I felt better - in every way! No poet could ask for a better 'hearing' anywhere."
The Celebration has won numerous awards and honors.
Past guest poets
The short video linked below, entitled COLLABORATions and CONNECTions, provides an overview of the types of poetry and performances created. Video clips are taken from Celebrations between 2004 and 2008.
Poetry Celebration Overview