Outreach Opportunities



  • Meet the Artist Series
  • Meet the Artist Comes to Your School
  • ASC Teaching Artists On The Road
  • The Robert Redus School of Guitar
  • Master Classes & Workshops
  • Open Rehearsals for Students



Meet the Artist Series


These one-hour performances allow the ASC to share the arts with students and aspiring young
artists by experiencing the thrill of a live performance in a world-class performing arts center. Performers will engage students with anecdotes about their professional training and provide insight into the pieces they perform and the instruments they play.


School reservations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Curriculum Guides are available for all “Meet the Artist” programs via email. Performances fill up months in advance. In order to accommodate as many students as possible we request that schools only make reservations if they are sure they can attend. Please check your school’s testing/holiday schedules for the full year before signing up. Last-minute cancellations keep others from participating in our free educational performances. If a school group must cancel, please do so no later than three weeks prior to the performance date. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding.


Cicily Parnas, Cello

Thurs., August 29th, 2013 // 10 A.M.
Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th
Jemison Concert Hall

The ASC is highlighting the beauty and complexity of the cello with a series of presentations and educational events. Our first featured artist is Cicely Parnas, First Prize Winner of the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and granddaughter of the illustrious cellist, Leslie Parnas. The younger Parnas began playing the cello at age 4 and made her concert debut at 11 with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. She has won numerous prizes since age 13, including the 2011 Artistic Excellence Award and First Prize in the Cello Concerto Competition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where she earned an Artist Diploma. Parnas, who performs on a 1712 Giovanni Grancino violoncello, has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today series and recently made her Carnegie Hall concerto debut.
A More Convenient Season

Thurs., September 19th, 2013 // 10 A.M.
Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th
Jemison Concert Hall

“Every word spoken or sung will be words from the movement. Words from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Oral Histories, words from FBI files and police records… words of the time,” says Yotam Haber, a Guggenheim fellow and accomplished composer commissioned by philanthropist Tom Blount and the Alys Stephens Center to commemorate the events of 1963. Haber continues, “I’m not coming here to tell Birmingham and Alabama her own story. They know it far better than I do. I’m creating a work of art through the filter of my own experiences of growing up in Europe and Israel and immigrating to America from Africa. I’m listening and learning – not to be a historian, but an artist.” The culmination of Haber’s listening to oral histories, learning from foot soldiers, speaking with historians, and browsing through files and artifacts in the Birmingham Public Library Archives has resulted in the world premiere of A More Convenient Season. The performance features the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, four of Birmingham’s most talented youth soloists, a chorus, film, and archival recordings.

The piece, “A More Convenient Season” is named from the text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
“…who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

In spring 2014, the Alys Stephens Center will premiere this work on the West Coast in a performance featuring the CalArts Orchestra at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre). Please join us for this commissioned work that not only commemorates the events of 1963, but also showcases the beauty of Birmingham today.
Eric Essix: Evolution

Friday,  Sept. 20, 2013// 10:00 A.M.
Recommended Grades: 3rd – 12th
ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall

Who better to commemorate 1963 than Birmingham Native and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee Eric Essix. Essix will perform songs from his landmark 20th recording titled Evolution, a musical diary that examines the progress of Birmingham over the past 50 years and into the future. A guitarist with intimate personal, family, and community connections to the subject matter, Essix has produced and recorded songs that have a direct connection to the Civil Rights Movement for more than a decade:

2000 – For Four (An original composition dedicated to the girls who died in the bombing)
People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield)
2004 – Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round (march anthem)
2005 – Abide With Me (a ten-song collection of Negro spirituals and hymns)
2009 – We Shall Overcome and Shuttlesworth Drive (An original composition dedicated to the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth) on Essix’s Birmingham album. The latter was a #1 contemporary jazz hit that stayed in the top 5 of the national jazz radio charts for more than 20 weeks.

When Essix is not on stage, he serves as artist coordinator at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center and an instructor of jazz studies and music technology in UAB’s Department of Music.

Yuletide in Dogtown

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013// 10am & 1pm
Recommended Grades: K – 3rd
ASC’s Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall

The dogs are back in town for this “ArtPlay Presents” holiday favorite! Join Spike, Fifi, Scotty, and Beauregard on this interactive musical adventure created by local playwright – and the ASC’s very own – Jerry Sims, as his pups learn what the holidays really mean. Sims has a real knack for making interesting characters come to life. He has written a number of “ArtPlay Presents” originals. With takes on classics such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and A Christmas Carol, his shows have offered families not only a delightful time at the theatre, but also a fun and fulfilling educational experience. There is theatre where you simply sit back and watch, and then there are shows like Dogtown that are participatory and really get the audience involved. Now … are you ready to go to the dogs? Join us for this yuletide performance, but be sure to stick around after it’s over. There will be an opportunity for your family to shake … well, uh … paws with these pups immediately following the show! What a “pawfect” treat for the holidays!,

Kasman Duo

Friday, February 7, 2014// 10:00 A.M.
Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th
ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall

Yakov Kasman’s debut in America in 1997 as Silver Medalist in the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth was the culmination of several competition triumphs and tours in Europe and the Middle East, including prizes at the 1991 Valentino Bucchi Competition in Rome, the 1991 London World Piano Competition, the 1992 Artur Rubinstein International Competition in Tel Aviv, and the 1995 International Prokofiev Competition at St. Petersburg. Since his American debut, he has given concerts in the United States, South America, Europe, Russia and Asia, including recitals in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Paul, Atlanta, and Birmingham.

Born in the city of Orel, near Moscow, Mr. Kasman began his piano studies at the age of five. A graduate and postgraduate of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and previously a professor of piano at the Music College of the Conservatory, he is now the Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. His students are winners of regional, national and international competitions.

Make it Happen Performing Ensemble
Monday, Feb. 10, 2014// 10:00 A.M.
Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th
ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall

Through a partnership with “Make it Happen” Theatre Company the ASC’s ArtPlay invites high school students to audition for this performance-based program in which students will attend weekly theatre classes and rehearsals that will culminate in an original performance celebrating Black History Month. This performance  is researched, written, and performed by the student participants as part of the “ArtPlay Presents” series.
Ailey II
Monday, March 17, 2014// 10:00 A.M.
Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th
ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall

Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974, the company embodies Mr. Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Under the direction of Sylvia Waters, Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the county. With new Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II will continue to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company.


Jazz: The Essentials with Marcus Roberts Trio

Thursday, April. 10, 2014// 10:00 A.M.

Recommended Grades: 3rd – 12th ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall



Ragtime & Early NEW ORLEANS Jazz

Learn more about the history, culture, and the fascinating form of art that is JAZZ and the intriguing city in which it was born, New Orleans!

Jazz Essentials is a new, innovative series devoted to honoring the rich history of jazz music and bringing the best artists in contemporary jazz to the city of Birmingham. Over the next three years, the ASC will take you on a journey from the birth of jazz up through today’s most innovative artists with performances and educational activities. This season, Jazz Essentials will begin its journey by showcasing ragtime and early New Orleans jazz, hosted by UAB Artist-in-Residence Eric Essix and featuring music performed by the Marcus Roberts Trio, alongside local jazz artists.

SET ONE will take audiences through the history, music, and artists of the inaugural era of jazz.

SET TWO will feature the highly acclaimed original music and repertoire of the Marcus Roberts Trio.

Roberts has received praise from the legendary Wynton Marsalis, who, when discussing Roberts, has said, “We call him ‘the genius of modern piano’ – because he is.”

Jazz Essentials coincides with the 2014 UAB Jazz Summit, April 10-12.

Make Reservations Now


Each year the Alys Stephens Center’s ArtPlay brings a performing artist into a local school to hold a special concert just for that school.

October 7 -11, 2013 – Ailey II

January 24, 2014 – Narek Arutyunian, Clarinet

May 2, 2014 – Ji, Piano





For the fourth year the Alys Stephens Center offers arts education programs that travel to your school for free! We are thrilled to collaborate with three engaging and enlightening artists: local poet and performance artist, Sharrif Simmons; actor/educator, Alicia Johnson; and singer-songwriter/educator, Charles Tortorici.


For grades 5 – 12

The Poet’s Corner Workshop provides a comprehensive series of creative writing programs. This interactive program focuses on school-age children and students in “at risk” programs. Through the use of poetry and spoken word, students will be given the opportunity to participate in comparative literature while learning about the history of the oral tradition in comparison to contemporary forms of expression like Hip Hop, Theater, and Rhythm & Blues.

• An acoustic guitar poetry performance.
• An overview of poetic forms.
• An overview of historical poets.
• A comparison to contemporary poets.
• Listening to and reading excerpts from modern poets and popular music.
• Writing and sharing poems with classmates.

This workshop is generally administered once a week over a six-week period, but an abbreviated version is available in one or more school classes or through afterschool programs. Students are encouraged to use their vocabulary in creative ways and in a variety of mediums including spoken word, poetry, and music. Writing and reference materials will be provided throughout the workshop. At the end of the six-week workshop students will perform a recital with a live band at the school.


For grades 3 – 8

wa•ter•shed –
1. An area of land through which water, dissolved materials, and sediments flow on their way to a common outlet, such as a stream, river, lake, or ocean.
2. An important transition between two phases.

Kids and grown-ups all over the world are endeavoring to keep our world and our bodies healthy by ensuring the protection of our drinking water. Join educator and singer-songwriter, Charles Tortorici, as he teaches elementary and middle students the importance of a watershed and its interdependent plant and animal species through a series of six classes using creative writing (in the narrative, descriptive, expository, and poetic styles), song, visual art, and creative movement as teaching tools. The final class will be an in-school performance where students incorporate all of their work from the past five weeks into one cohesive performance piece. We recommend booking these programs early in the school year as availability is very limited.


Make Reservations Now

THE ROBERT REDUS School of Guitar

The Robert Redus School of Guitar was born out of a vision from friends and family of the late Robert Clark Redus IV to spread his joy of music. The Alys Stephens Center is proud to bring this program to a select group of students at three local elementary schools. During this year-long program 12 students will have the chance to study guitar from a university level guitar instructor. At the end of the school year, the students will have the opportunity to keep their guitars based on their commitment to lessons, practice, responsibility, and volunteerism. If you are interested in bringing this program to your school call (205) 975-4769. Spaces for three schools are available.

Master Classes, Workshops & Clinics

ArtPlay master classes are a wonderful opportunity to connect local intermediate and advanced students of a variety of ages with masters of their art forms who are here as ASC presented artists.  In a master class all the students (and often spectators) watch and listen as the master teacher works with one student at a time.  Workshops allow a larger group of people to participate and are geared more toward beginning or intermediate level students.  Master classes and workshops take place at ArtPlay, the Alys Stephens Center, and sometimes in local schools.  Most are free unless otherwise notated.

Yotam Haber – Composer’s Master Class Sept. 16 4pm

Anouska Shankar Clinic –  Sept. 17 1pm

Carolina Chocolate Drops Clinic – Feb. 28, 3PM

Open Rehearsals for Students

Open rehearsals give students a rare opportunity to see renowned artists prepare for an evening’s performance at the Alys Stephens Center.  Additionally, audience members are often able to ask the performer(s) questions at the end of the rehearsal.