Wonderful Photo and Video Essay about Joy Now from the Oregonian

Ten years after it first began to delight audiences with its blend of circus arts and Klezmer-inspired, big-band sound, March Fourth Marching Band is mentoring a new generation. Members of March Fourth have founded Joy Now Arts Project for Portland-area youth.

“Family” is a word many kids use to describe their experience.

Recent Joy Now rehearsals reveal 18 middle- and high school-age kids collaborating on a rocking circus performance piece. They sew their own costumes, learn about Klezmer, and strap on stilts. Laughter punctuates the quiet confidence that comes from being surrounded by supportive, caring adults.

Admittedly, Joy Now co-founders Robin Jackson and Ariel Brantley-Dalglish want to save the world. The former March Fourth Marching Band members’ vision begins one child at a time, through the medium of art.

Modeled after the infectiously funky and raucous big-band performing group that they came from, with the support of some current band members, Joy Now Arts Project is completing its first go at an after-school program.

“We’ve seen the arts being cut from all different school and community budgets,” Brantley-Dalglish says. “ But we also have all this research that shows how much arts really help students thrive.”

You can check them out this weekend when they play the March Fourth Marching Band ‘s 10th Anniversary Extravaganza at the Crystal Ballroom on Sunday, March 3 at 4pm.

For information on how to register for upcoming Joy Now classes: http://joynowproject.org

— Faith Cathcart

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