On the same day that about two dozen youth from the Boys & Girls Club in Detroit Lakes were getting lessons on how to make the letters of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" into an interpretive dance, residents of Ecumen-Emmanuel Nursing Home were learning how to tap to the rhythm of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" with hand-held taps that worked much the same way as tap shoes.
Over the course of two days this past week, teaching artists Steven Labine and Michaela Shapiro patiently helped their students at the Boys & Girls Club find the rhythm of the music, as they prepared them for a concert program in front of family and friends at the Emmanuel Chapel on Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday, the two artists also held a sing-along with about 60 nursing home residents, many of whom had also been involved with the rhythm workshop the day before.
Thursday morning saw the Boys & Girls Club students showing off their newly honed skills at a club talent show, before heading over to Emmanuel for the concert that afternoon.
"There were lots of smiles all around," said Brenda Labine, activities director at Ecumen-Emmanuel-and Steven's mother.
The workshops and concert were funded by a grant from the Art4Health project, a collaboration between the Fergus Falls-based Springboard for the Arts and PartnerSHIP 4 Health, which includes Becker, Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin counties.
Labine and Boys & Girls Club Program Director Tami Skinner both attended an Art4Health workshop earlier this year, which inspired them to work on the collaborative project to "bring more arts opportunities to the nursing home and the Boys & Girls Club," said Labine.
Enter her son, Steven, who recently graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato with a degree in musical theater.
"This was my mom's brainchild," he said. "She came to me with it this spring and I said, 'That sounds great!'"
"We wrote a grant application for the project that included a second artist," said Brenda Labine.
Shapiro is a longtime friend and fellow theater arts student of Steven's from MSU-Mankato. "Steven graduated this year, I have a year left," she said.
So when he asked her to participate, she said yes.
The two decided that they would base the dance that they were working on with the Boys & Girls Club students on the musical "Mary Poppins," because it had recently been produced by the Mankato theater department and they were familiar with the material.
In addition, they also taught the Boys & Girls Club students the song "Do Re Mi," a well-known selection from the musical "Sound of Music."
After the students performed their dance and song pieces on Thursday, Steven and Michaela also performed several solo numbers as well as a duet.
"There were lots of smiles all around," said Brenda Labine, noting that the audience included many parents of the participating students as well as nursing home residents and staff.
"The residents had fun, and I think the students did too," she added. "I think (the project) turned out very well. It actually surpassed what we thought possible."