Anyone entering Riverview Hall on Friday morning would think they stumbled upon a rock concert of ecstatic fans. In reality, it was simply part of a really cool field trip.
The Sons of MyStro performed before a crowd of screaming elementary school students who were immersed in the arts for a day, exploring the 47th annual Red River Revel.
“The ArkLaTex loves the Revel because so many people have experienced it as a kid and they’ve gone on to take their kids to experience the same things and now we’re seeing third generations getting into the mix as well,” said Logan Lewis, Executive Director of Red River Revel. “It becomes a special thing for people in the area.”
It’s special for people like Jana Freeman Forrest, who is the Red River Revel Board President and 2023 Arts Education Chair.
“The Revel 4th grade field trip is where I came first when I moved to Shreveport-Bossier in the 4th grade and here we are all these years later and we’re bringing brand new programming,” shared Forrest. “We’ve brought Sci-port. We’ve brought Robinson Film Center and it’s all wonderful STEAM education programming for our kids and this year my baby is in the 4th grade. So, she gets to come through the same 4th grade program that I came through so many years ago.”
This year, for the first time, students got a chance to learn from a professional percussionist, who toured and performed in the acclaimed musical STOMP.
Louisiana native Elizabeth Vidos, who’s best known as Lady Chops, hopes to inspire a new generation of musicians.
“We probably have some amazing future Lousiana musicians in these schools and if people quit funding music and quit funding the arts in schools then we’re never going to know those musicians,” said Vidos. “I think it’s really important and if I can do my part by bringing it to them and open their eyes and get sticks in their hands then this is the time to get them engaged in the arts and get them interested in things and you just never know.”
Maybe one day, one of the 4,000 students from Caddo and Bossier schools who passed through Revel this week could return and perform to screaming crowds of their own.
“This is a gift that the Junior League of Shreveport Bossier gave our community so many years ago,” Forrest explained. “It truly has been a gift. It’s been a gift for so many people. I’m very proud to be part of it and to keep up the traditions that we’ve had and also just to do new things, exciting things as we keep going forward.”