BloodSugar

BloodSugar performed at KidsFest during the 23rd annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival on Friday, June 21, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. Bands played on outdoor stages as well as inside 12 different venues at the AthFest Club Crawl. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

After day one of the 23rd annual AthFest Arts and Music Festival was filled with high school band performances at the KidsFest stage, day two featured performances catered to a younger audience.

The day started at 10:30 a.m. with the Rebecca Sunshine Band performing for a crowd made up mostly of families with young children.

Instruments were left on the ground in front of the stage for children to sing and play along with the band as it performed songs like “The Wheels on the Bus” and “La Bamba.”

After day one of the 23rd annual AthFest Arts and Music Festival was filled with high school band performances at the KidsFest stage, day two featured performances catered to a younger audience.

The band provided a family-friendly area with plenty of room to dance about for parents and children alike.

“I’m very kid-focused,” lead performer Rebecca Ballard said. “Since I’m an educator also, music is really, really important for brain development.”

Ballard not only has fun performing, but emphasized that music can also help improve reading, because hearing the rhythms can “connect synapses.”

Next on stage was Allegro Music, which brought a similar energy and aesthetic as the Rebecca Sunshine Band when it took the stage at 11:20 a.m.

From a cover of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to Laurie Berkner’s “Victor Vito,” Allegro was an enjoyable act despite the sun and the Georgia heat beginning to take away from the amount of audience engagement.

The third act of the day came at 12:10 p.m. from the Clarke Middle School Silver Strings Orchestra. There were five violin and viola players, two cellos and a double bass performing in the orchestra that provided a nice and relaxing change of pace.

When the last piece was played, conductor and music teacher Eunice Kang took a minute to address the crowd.

Kang thanked AthFest Educates, a non-profit organization committed to advancing music and arts education for youth in Athens-Clarke County, for their support. Only one of the eight instruments in the orchestra had to be purchased with the school’s own money.

Kang added that the nonprofit had provided around 30 instruments to her students over the past three years.

After about a two hour hiatus from the KidsFest stage on the corner of Lumpkin Street and East Washington Street, the performances started back up at 3:15.

Wise Xpressions Dance — a dance studio based in Athens — brought a different type of performance to the KidsFest stage. Instead of relying on instruments like past acts, they let their energetic yet short mashup of dances do the talking.

The group of 11 girls had matching white tank-tops that read “Wise Xpressions Dance” on the front and their names on the back. The performance took influences from hip-hop, ballet and jazz.

At 4 p.m. another dance troupe from the Dancefx ballet school performed in front of a decent-sized crowd a couple hundred strong, filled with family, friends and curious AthFest visitors.

Kaitlin Butcher, director of Dancefx's Youth Program, introduced the three different “companies” that performed in the 30 minute time slot.

First, was the kinder company, filled with younger girls who wore matching black, blue and purple jumpsuits and danced to Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” for their beginning act. Later, the company danced to Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time.”

The second and third troupes were the junior and intermediate companies. They featured older girls and were wearing matching outfits, one section with black and gold jumpsuits and the other with black and white.

It was an especially impressive act all around because according to Butcher, the companies only had about one-half or one-third of their usual members performing on Saturday.

The last act of the day took place at 5:00 p.m. and was a solo dance performance from Mohini Jain. Jain is a self-taught dancer and despite the small crowd was a courageous and encouraging last act of the day.

AthFest festivities conclude tomorrow evening, and the KidsFest stage begins performances at 12:30 p.m.

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