How fitting that I got the letter Y being the Young Adult writer of the group. Rather than list all my favorite YA titles (mostly because there’d be too many), I’d like to give a shout out to a particular group of Young Adults who are appropriately named The Young Americans.
The Young Americans are an extremely talented group of young men and women (or those in what would be the so-called “New Adult” target audience), past high school who tour the US and the world doing music outreach programs. They come in and in a 3 day workshop (really more like 1 1/2) teach kids in grades 4-12 a whole show. “Glee Light” isn’t quite the right name even though it ALL of the amazing talent, but none of that pesky drama.
I first heard of them back in 2000 when they came to the school where I taught. I had no idea of how incredible these Young Americans were. I sat in our high school gym and watched a Broadway-quality show for like $5. My husband and I could barely pick our jaws up from the gym floor. (Which is really a nasty place that you don’t want your jaw touching for very long.) Then to see what they got out of our students? Oh my!
Fast forward twelve years and they are back. And this time, I have a Glee-loving kid who is old enough to participate in the workshop. I signed her up and drug her to the local high school’s auditorium where they’d set up. About 30 seconds into the Young American’s introductions, someone else’s jaw was checking out the auditorium floor. (It’s not much better than the gym floor.) After the first night, she was exhausted but thrilled that Mom signed her up for this thing. And when the final note was sung after the Friday night performance, this Mama had shed plenty of tears from bursting with pride from seeing my little girl get to participate in this fantastic opportunity.
If you ever have the chance to see the Young Americans, DO IT! You’ll be supporting future Broadway stars. Just try to keep your jaw from hitting the floor. I think I saw an M&M’s wrapper and who knows how long THAT’s been there!