On Friday, December 11th, Audubon Middle School’s auditorium was filled with excited faces for the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center’s production of Frozen.
Directed by Brandon Rainey, the fantasy musical tells the story of a princess who goes on a voyage to reverse her sister’s magic powers that cursed the kingdom to eternal winter. Featuring a K through 6th grade cast, the show included adorable performances of the well-known songs, “Let It Go,” and, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
Having directed several student-cast dramas over the last few years, including Rainey says that “Frozen” in particular was “definitely a tremendous effort” as it featured the, “youngest cast ever.”
The Pullum Center recently expanded its program, partnering with the JIB and Zegar foundations. The new partnership, along with the help of the Marcus Garvey Center give the center, “the ability to work more with younger students, grades K-6,” said Jim O’Brien, Chairman of the Board, who was honored with an appreciation award by Fernando Pullum before the start of the show.
The new expansion provides a way for one hundred-twenty elementary and middle school students to partake in performing arts classes and academic enrichment. The Pullum Center’s goal is to build confidence and self-esteem in local youth in order to create a cycle of positivity and promote good decision making within the community.
“The purpose of the program is for nights like tonight,” said O’Brien. “To give these kids an opportunity to get on stage to showcase their talent” is one of the best things the community can do for itself.
The Pullum Center offers a creative outlet for youth, ages 5 to 20, who otherwise may not have one. The non-profit organization, located in Leimert Park, provides quality arts instruction for underserved students in South Los Angeles at no cost to their families.
The program is run by Fernando Pullum, alongside a dedicated staff of instructors, parents, and community volunteers who find it important to commit their time and energy to such a cause.
“We have wonderful teachers who have taken their time to help these kids focus their talent,” said O’Brien.
Students who were a part of this winter’s program worked diligently for the past three months, practicing three times a week, memorizing lines and rehearsing performances in addition to keeping up with their usual school work. Though the process was definitely a challenge, it is safe to say that it was all worth it after the crowd gave a standing ovation at the end of the show.