Lip Sync Contest To Benefit Any Given Child Harrisonburg
Justin McIlwee / Daily News Record
November 30, 2017
Flip over to Spike TV and you can watch Queen Latifah and Marlon Wayans battle. Or Mike Tyson and Terry Crews unleash their inner rock stars in a knock down, drag out, winner-take-all challenge.
No, it’s not a fight. It’s a lip sync battle — a phenomenon brought into the mainstream media and made popular by drag queen contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race and late night host Jimmy Fallon.
Lip syncing is when a person matches a singer’s words and mouth movements without making a sound themselves. It can be done with any type of music and can involve theatrics, dancing and any other shenanigans the lip syncer brings to the table.
To piggyback on this popular practice, Any Given Child in Harrisonburg is set to host its third annual Lip Sync Battle: Battle in the Burg on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Court Square Theater.
“Battle in the Burg came as an idea [because] we were trying to find a great way to raise funds and make it affordable for people to come out to a fundraising event,” said J.R. Snow, director of Any Given Child Harrisonburg. “We put it into play three years ago. We had our first rounds, and so we hope to have a great night.”
Snow said the idea of the battle came to him one night while he was just watching TV.
“[The idea] came at the beach, on vacation,” he said. “I was flipping through channels and came across the show on television. Sometimes, when you’re at your most relaxed state, you’re also the most creative. And so I just said, ‘I wonder if we could present something like this?’”
Last year’s benefit was able to raise over $18,000 for Any Given Child, which is an organization that works to ensure artistic equality and access to kids in prekindergarten to eighth grade in Harrisonburg City Public Schools. The organization is a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Hagy, one of the contestants in this year’s competition and a music teacher at W.H. Keister Elementary School, explained the importance of having an organization like Any Given Child reside in Harrisonburg.
“Our students are able to see the power of the arts for expression and creation,” she said. “When they are able to see a professional group and work alongside them to create a piece of artwork, musical performance, dance performance or theater performance, then they feel empowered to create themselves. It is inspiring to see where you can go in the future if you keep arts alive in your classroom and in your life, and Any Given Child provides that opportunity.”
Snow said he expects this year’s performance to sell out, just like previous years. He said the community support for the event has been tremendous and that it’s extremely important to be able to keep raising money for such a worthy cause.
“It’s vital because as a newer organization and a partnership, we obviously want to get our name out,” he said. “The great thing about local money and local partnerships is that all of our money stays right here. Every dollar that we raise in an event like this goes directly to programming for students. Without that, students aren’t going to get that extra opportunity. Really, the program that we provide, focuses on allowing students to find their own identity as a creative artist.”
Tickets to the event are $25 and can be purchased online.
Contact Justin McIlwee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-6265
Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg
On Wednesday, Any Given Child Harrisonburg will host its own version of the celebrated show at Court Square Theater at 7 p.m. in its event Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg.
According to Any Given Child Harrisonburg’s website, it’s a partnership initiative sponsored by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., focused on providing arts programming and education to kids all over the nation. A program the city of Harrisonburg and Harrisonburg City Public Schools applied to be a part of, AGCH provides art experiences for kids in pre-K through eighth grade. AGCH is currently in its third year of implementation since being selected for the national program in August 2014.
J.R. Snow, the director or AGCH and a JMU alumnus (’99), came up with the idea of hosting a lip sync battle as a fundraiser while watching the TV show. Wanting to put on an affordable event where people could have fun, Snow decided a lip sync battle would be a perfect, low-budget way to raise money for AGCH. “We were sitting around and we were flipping through channels [and] it came up,” Snow said. “And I said, ‘You know what? I think this model could actually work if we could find some fun folks who we’d want to come out and kind of make fun of themselves a little bit, have a good time and create some opportunities for people to come to an affordable fundraiser.’”
While this is the third year AGCH has hosted the event, this year’s lip sync battle is different from years past. Previously, the event was held over three nights with two preliminary rounds and a final. This year, the event will be consolidated into one night, and five contestants will compete for what Snow calls “the illustrious title of Lip Sync Battle Champion of Harrisonburg.”
Similar to the past, Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg has contestants prepare two songs to perform for the audience. The show will feature small interviews with the contestants as well as judges to make comments on their respective performances.
People from all over the country can cast their vote for favorite contestants online for $1 per vote prior to the event, but if they purchase a $25 ticket to the show online or at the event, voting is free. The money raised from Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg goes directly toward arts programming for children in the community. Last year, AGCH raised close to $20,000 toward its initiative through the event.
Instead of having star-studded contestants like the TV show, AGCH invites members of the community to participate in Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg. This year’s show features five contestants from vastly different backgrounds, including a contestant who works at the high school, a young professional from JMU and a music teacher from the Harrisonburg school division.
“It really has been very diverse,” Snow said. “I have the pleasure of giving them the call and [saying], ‘Hey, I think you’d be awesome at this. Are you willing to have some fun with us and do this?’ It’s a great conversation, and so lots of people have been willing to do it.”
Maggie Hagy, a music teacher at W.H. Keister Elementary School and a JMU alumna (’15), is one of this year’s contestants. Recruited by Snow during her first week of her job at Keister, Hagy knew she had to step her game up when she found out she was one of five people competing. She frequently performs all over town as a singer and says this event will be new for her.
“I can sing, right? Like, that’s my thing is I can sing,” Hagy said. “But this is not singing, this is lip syncing. And so I have had to try and work some of my talents in a very creative way ... It’ll hopefully be a little surprise, but hopefully bring in some of my own personal talents to the stage.”
Kristen Loflin is a JMU alumna (master’s in ’04) and mental health and substance abuse counselor with her own practice. Her extensive preparation has transformed into an elaborate performance, from making costumes to conducting rehearsals. While she’s attended AGCH’s past lip sync battles and said she’s never laughed harder in her life, this is Loflin’s first year as a contestant and she plans on going all out. Both songs she’s preparing involve other performers — her first with her two children and her second with a group of 12 friends who are avid supporters of the fine arts programs.
Loflin has enjoyed getting the group together to get creative with their performance.
“Everyone in this group is so dedicated and busy and we are just having a blast laughing at ourselves, laughing at each other, getting creative, which is, you know, what Any Given Child is really all about,” Loflin said.
Alan Quimby, a technology resource teacher and JMU alumnus (’00), is making his return to the Lip Sync Battle on the ’Burg stage this year. Some may remember Quimby from 2016’s lip sync battle, where he donned a platinum wig to play the convincing role Sandy in his friend’s performance of a “Grease” song. This year, Quimby is making a comeback as a main contestant. Previously a fifth-grade teacher, he says he’s used to making a fool of himself to get people interested and is excited to perform for this year’s audience. “I think being on stage with the crowd reacting is what I’m looking forward to most,” Quimby said. “It’s a lot of fun for people to be laughing and smiling.”
While Snow hopes that Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg gives people a chance to come out and have fun, he also expects the event to help provide further opportunities for the children of Harrisonburg.
“The whole point of the initiative is about this idea of collective impact,” Snow said. “Meaning we’re going to bring the community together to kind of really battle this work. And so I think the most exciting thing is one, we get to share it with an audience about the work that we do, and two, we get to have a lot of fun with people and at the end of the night, everybody walks away knowing we provided some opportunities for kids and that kids are going to get artistic experiences because of their willingness to come out on a Wednesday night in Harrisonburg.”
Forbes Center Welcomes HCPS Middle and High Schoolers for Free Music Performance
Union Sponsors 'Forbes Family Fun' Shows for Third Season
See the original Article HERE
More than 500 middle and high school students in Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) got to see the female a cappella group from Zimbabwe, Nobuntu, thanks to the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. As a major presenting partner with Any Given Child (AGC) Harrisonburg, the Forbes Center has made a commitment to provide quality performing arts programming in conjunction with the AGC national program overseen by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Locally, the AGC program is focused on ensuring access and equity for all children in grades preK-8 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Students had the opportunity to attend a matinee on Thursday, Nov. 16. The 60-minute performance was followed by a question-and-answer session with the five members of Nobuntu.
According to Regan Byrne, executive director of the Forbes Center and a member of the Arts Experience committee for AGC Harrisonburg, the Forbes Center has promised to offer varying groups and age ranges within preK-8 the chance to experience at least one live performance per season. In addition to Nobuntu, the Forbes Center will host HCPS students for The 13-Story Treehouse by Australia’s CDP Theatre Producers in January and How I Became a Pirate by Dallas Children’s Theater in April. Nobuntu, The 13-Story Treehouse and How I Became a Pirate are all ‘Forbes Family Fun’ shows included in the Forbes Center 2017-2018 Masterpiece Season.
Now in their fifth season, Forbes Family Fun shows were introduced by the Center to provide quality performing arts programming for young audiences and their families. This year’s Forbes Family Fun series is sponsored by Union Bank & Trust, who has sponsored the series since 2015.
“Union Bank & Trust is a longtime supporter of the arts, area schools, charitable organizations, and local causes. We are excited to return as the sponsor of the Forbes Family Fun series, supporting and raising awareness of the performing arts in the Shenandoah Valley,” says Charlie Martorana, senior vice president/Harrisonburg market executive at Union. According to Byrne, “It’s always gratifying when a business leader such as Union makes a commitment to young people in the Valley. Sponsorship makes it possible for the Forbes Center to reach out to diverse audiences and to provide quality family programming.”
For tickets to Forbes Center events, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000.