Brandywine grad shares passion for arts with Performing Arts Workshop

Published 7:26 am Friday, January 17, 2014

After spending two years touring with the Young Americans performance group, Brandywine High School graduate August Garritano wanted to bring what he learned to his hometown school.

“It was probably the best two years of my life,” said Garritano, who graduated from Brandywine in 2008. “I thought, ‘why can’t we do something for our community — maybe a workshop?’”

Garritano pitched the idea to Lena Miles, a friend and fellow Brandywine graduate who is currently studying music education and composition at Michigan State University.

Out of that discussion the two created the Brandywine Performing Arts Workshop, which debuted in the summer of 2012.

More than a year later, Garritano said the workshop is ready to return bigger and better than ever.

For the first time, organizers are offering pre-registration for the workshop, which is scheduled for June 9-12 at Brandywine Elementary School. They’ve also expanded the workshop to area students currently in grades first through sixth. In previous years they only accepted third through sixth-graders.

“We think it’s a worthwhile program and we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to go through it,” Garritano said.

People can register or get more information by emailing or calling Garritano at (269) 635-3116.

The cost is $20 for previous participants and $30 for new participants who register before April 1. After April 1, the cost is $35 for new participants.

“There are a lot of performing arts or similar camps out there that are priced a little high,” Garritano said. “Our goal was to provide something that was low cost and high quality.”

Garritano said the mission of the workshop is to enrich the next generation with the necessary life skills to be productive, responsible and innovative members of this community and the world.

“We achieve this goal by providing exposure to the performing arts through the disciplines of acting, singing, dancing, musicianship, creativity and personal expression,” he said.

The workshop is an intensive four-day performing arts workshop for students in communities surrounding Niles. It offers exposure to singing, dancing, acting and performing.

Scholarships are available for people without the means to pay the entree fee.

Garritano said they are selling workshop themed t-shirts and sweatshirts through their Facebook page. Proceeds from sales will go to the workshop scholarship fund.