Seein’ Is Believin’ LLC is hosting Carols In Color, a special event for youth to obtain professional performance experience and training, at Villager Mall, 2300 S. Park Street, on Saturday, Dec. 18, noon to 4 p.m. This free event is a partnership with the UJAMAA Business Market.
Opera singer Prenicia Clifton created the non-profit to support young Black and brown students in Madison. Carols in Color is an extension of a concert Clifton has held since she moved to Madison.
“I’ve been doing a mini holiday concert in Madison for the last four years, since I’ve been here,” said Clifton. “It’s called Songs for Hope. Usually, we raise money for different kinds of youth events and supports throughout the community. But this year with the pandemic, we wanted to do an abbreviated version. We still wanted to give the youth the chance to perform, as well. We partnered with UJAMAA Market to do some caroling, instead of a full-on concert.
“The kids will still get a chance to work with a professional singer, a professional company, and we will rehearse an hour before we actually start,” she adds. “But it gives the chance to still perform around the holiday season. And I always pick the holiday season because it’s music that the kids know. They feel more comfortable. And then at the same time, it allows them to practice on their own.”
Clifton opened a general registration for students who were interested in caroling, and a school decided to participate in this event as a field trip.
“Students from Glacier Creek Middle School will be doing instrumental performances,” Clifton said. “Then we have a couple of high school kids from various high schools from Memorial (and) West, and then we have two elementary kids from One City, and then another performer from Toki Middle School. They’re kind of from all over. I just really am appreciative of Ann Vanderbloemen from Glacier Creek Middle School for bringing her whole group out.”
Clifton said it’s also important for Black and brown youth to see themselves reflected in unexpected places.
“A part of Seein’ Is Believin’ is a partnership with the Madison Public Library,’’ Clifton said. “It’s called ‘Black Kids Don’t’ and it’s a 90-minute presentation that we do at the libraries with all of these phenomenal Black and brown artists, and just basically tell their stories of how people said that, ‘Oh, well, Black people don’t do that.’ Or ‘Brown people don’t do that.’ And to show people successfully doing these things … because if youth can see themselves in these roles, they will do those roles.
As a classically trained opera singer, I knew the first time that I saw Jessye Norman in concert that I could do it,” Clifton continued. “I wanted to give that back to those youth in Madison. So that’s part of the reason we’re doing the concert, so they can see me singing and I can work with them and give them tips and tricks and all that kind of stuff … just increasing representation in the arts.”
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