Tales and Scales, Inc. (Evansville, IN)


A man with a set of bongos strapped to his waist gestures to a group of children playing diferent instruments

Percussionist Brian Smith coaches Dexter Elementary students during a rehearsal of Olympic Values, part of the Imagine That! program of Tales and Scales of Evansville, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Tales and Scales

For nearly 20 years, Tales and Scales in Evansville, Indiana has ignited the imaginations of children, youth, and families with “Musictales,” a unique blend of storytelling, theater, dance, and music. Under the leadership of artistic director Deborah Moore, this group of master musicians annually gives more than 200 performances; school residencies under the Imagine That! program; and workshops for students, educators, and artists. The ensemble has performed in more than 36 states, and with many symphony orchestras, including Chicago, Boston and Utah. Each year, Tales and Scales also hosts Camp Imagination, a week-long summer arts camp based in southwest Indiana.

In FY 2004, Tales and Scales received an NEA Learning in the Arts grant of $30,000 to support Imagine That! residencies in seven Evansville schools during the 2004-2005 school year. Almost 200 students in first through fifth grades participated in the two-part, week-long programs. Working with Tales and Scales artists, students at each school used historical accounts of Olympic athletes to create a Musictale around the theme of Olympic values.

In the first phase of the program, students learned basic skills in music, creative movement, and theater through a series of games and activities. The second half of the program focused on the creation of the student Musictale production. In addition to arts skills, students involved in the program also broadened their critical-thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities. Each residency culminated with the students performing their Musictale. Overall, approximately 1,000 members of the community viewed the final performances.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)