by Maggie Conti, Director of Activities and Outreach Programs, JSS/RBJH
The five day artist-in-residency program with Residents of the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and the 5th and 6th grade students of the Friedel Jewish Academy completed a Percussion Workshop with international performing artist Michael Fitzsimmons at the end of February. The residency kicked off the week with an all-campus invitation to join Michael’s Drums of the World. The JCC auditorium was filled with students from Friedel and the Child Development Center, residents from the Rose Blumkin Home and Livingston Plaza all jamming in unison. This workshop exceeded all expectation in joining the diverse Jewish age groups together. The relationship building was fun to observe, especially when participants became friendly and comfortable with each other. Seniors and students helped each other make both a rain stick and a drum during the class sessions, and they benefitted from the weeklong exposure and interaction with each other. The final performance called Percussion Conversation incorporated a multi-part rhythm while students were paired with residents. It was a lively jam session while participants rocked the house. This project was a rousing success thanks to the generosity of the Esther K. Newman Fund and the J.S.O. Budget Subvention Fund of the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation.