Homecoming Series: Past Events

Acclaimed tenor and educator Martin Bakari was our 2nd HOMECOMING SERIES guest on Friday, September 29th, 2017.

Praised by Opera News as a “vocally charismatic” artist with a “golden tenor”, Mr. Bakari is a Yellow Springs native and Juilliard graduate who has performed a wide range of musical and theatrical works in renowned venues throughout the US and abroad. His recording of Grigory Smirnov’s Dowson Songs was recently released by Naxos Records, was featured by Opera News as a “Critic’s Choice” album, and is currently under GRAMMY® consideration. A passionate educator, he has taught and led masterclasses for various schools and organizations including Carnegie Mellon University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Metropolitan Opera, and Yellow Springs’ own Friends Music Camp where he was previously a camper. www.martinbakari.com

Our evening began at 7:00 with a reception for Martin hosted by Wheat Penny Oven and Bar & Sagecraft Catering. At 7:45 we welcomed everyone and  introduced John Fleming, director, choreographer, performer and teacher, who founded the YS Kids Playhouse, an interdisciplinary theater for youth, in 1995, and in this capacity developed and directed 20 original musical theater works. Martin Bakari was in the first YSKP production – “Dick Tracy – the Musical,” and was 8 years old at the time.

“Even at that initial moment, I saw that Martin was a disciplined performer and was creative, funny and poignant beyond his years. He had a connection to the other cast members that stood out. I knew that he could be depended on to make magical moments happen. As a director I put him front and center and he always raised the energy level both on the stage and in the audience.”

In a lovely “living room” setting on the Little Art’s stage, John interviewed Martin for 30 minutes, and then we moved to audience Q & A. Martin’s responses to both John’s questions and those of the audience were exquisitely articulate and full of passion, depth and sometimes humor. The evening ended with Martin performing two songs from his critically-acclaimed new album “Dowson Songs” composed by Grigory Smirnov and was accompanied on piano by Sam Reich.  These two songs left numerous audience members, including myself, moved to tears.

Thank you Martin for a wonderful evening, and a lovely 2nd Homecoming Series event.

~Jenny Cowperthwaite
Executive Director


CHRIS TEBBETTS!  Our fabulous and very first HOMECOMING SERIES guest launched our series on March 9, 2017.

New York Times #1 Bestselling Author, and native Yellow Springer, Chris Tebbetts, returned home on March 9th, 2017 to inaugurate the Little Art’s new Homecoming Series. What a great event it was, and what a debt of gratitude we owe Chris for his kindness and generosity! A transcript from his wonderful presentation can be found here: Chris Tebbetts talk transcript.  

Chris Tebbetts is the author and co-author of many books for young readers. Titles include the #1 New York Times bestselling MIDDLE SCHOOL series, as well as PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, with James Patterson and illustrator Laura Park; the New York Times bestselling STRANDED series with Jeff Probst; the young adult novel M OR F? with Lisa Papademetriou; and THE VIKING series. His work has received children’s choice awards in Oregon and Hawaii, as well a Sunshine State Young Readers Award nomination, and a nod on the New York Public Library’s annual list of Books For the Teen Age. He is a native of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and currently lives in Hinesburg, Vermont.

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