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Deb Gerace – Bio

Deb Gerace and The Mix at RenFestI have been a teacher for over 30 years and a singer/performer for 21 years.  I have always written for myself, for my students, for the newspapers, for educational magazines and literary magazines, from poetry in TWIGS Appalachian literary magazine to an article just this summer in The Music Educators National Conference’s magazine, “Teaching Music,” on enticing students (and parents) into my music programs at The Walker School here in Marietta.  I was a volunteer reader for GARRS (Ga. Radio Readers for the Blind) and an audio describer for VSA (Very Special Arts) in 96, for the Olympics.  I am a voracious reader of all kinds of novels, poetry and plays, which I also write for my students, in my never-ending quest to make education palatable.

Deb Gerace Tunes that TeachI am a “Kampertainer,” (really!) for KOA and have performed for the Jr. Ranger Camp at Kennesaw Battlefield National Park in 2010 and 2011.

I am a professional singer with the trio, Vintage Vocals, performing all styles in diverse venues ranging from schools, and military bases to an overseas USO tour.  My husband and I have been music teachers since 1970, have taught all levels and ages, I’ve written and read on the air an article for Ga. Public Radio’s City Café, Deb Gerace reading on the radiodirected community theater, been a reader for GARR and an audio-describer for VSA. Commissioned for song about the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, IN, for the centennial of Gene Stratton-Porter’s “Girl of the Limberlost” classic novel (Grossett & Dunlap, 1909)

My ability to write text and/or music to tailor educational facts to excite learning in kids from 3rd grade through middle school resulted in my being selected as the Artist In Residence at Glacier National Park during the summer of 2008. Deb Gerace at Limberlost State Historic SiteI wrote songs and skits to teach visitors, especially kids, about the nature of the park. Of course, I already have the inside track on this thinking outside the box mindset because I can often be found in a myriad of strange venues as a performer/educator, myself. In my never-ending quest to compete with the prancing pixels, I’ve stolen shamelessly from my own gigging life, knowing that it’s all really just about hooking your audience members and holding their attention long enough to engage them. As you can see from the photos, I don’t just hook them, I join them in the fantasies.
Acting Out Plays and SkitsThis approach was so popular that my colleagues began asking me to “spin” some other subjects into kid-friendly skits, thus birthing “The Truth About the Trail of Tears,” “Columbus; The Other Side of the Ocean and The Story!”, and for my students at my former religious school, “The Passion According to Kids.”

In 2000, I wrote the Reveille Roast Coffee Victory Hour for our Vintage Vocals Trio to teach school children about the human and home front impact of WWII.  This was so successful that we used it on stage in Savannah, Ga. at the SCAD Theater when the Cheatham Youth Commission joined the elderly members of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Historical Society for a joint project that helped to unite the youngsters with the veterans. Deb Gerace with students They wanted to pass on their history in a manner that would ‘hook’ the kids and be enjoyable for all and The Victory Hour was the perfect vehicle.

Designed as a radio show broadcast from ‘somewhere near the front,’ it featured the music of the era, news of the war, commercials about how to cook and eat healthily in spite of rationing and an interview from a wounded flyboy.  The kids and veterans shared all the roles and both mingled in the ‘studio orchestra’ where everyone played kazoo!  Since there was no rehearsal time, everyone got their scripts a few hours in advance and we met for about an hour before show-time to block the microphones and staff the Foley Cart, the most popular job during the show, then ran the show before a live audience.

I have since modified RRCVH so that it can be performed without our facilitating it.

All of the Acting Out Plays include enrichment projects to help the participants invest in the activity.  This ranges from writing their own commercials for RRCVH and the Holiday Home Show, to researching and cooking Native American-inspired goodies for Trail of Tears.  Quizzes are available to help students realize that indeed, this wasn’t just fun, but is a real learning experience and that they get to take more away from it than just a copy of the program.  All of these ideas came from my own performance and teaching experience – we all learn better when we are enjoying ourselves and are personally involved, physically and mentally!

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