Kate Caton shaping Northern Berkshire youths through arts
NORTH ADAMS -- If your child attends Northern Berkshire schools and participates in performing arts, your child most likely knows Kate Caton.
Last fall, Caton, a Lanesborough resident with a deep background in music, theater and education, took on the role of theater instructor and director for Drury High School.
She also works part time as the choral director and theater instructor at Mount Greylock Regional High School, and as the early childhood music instructor for the Williams College Children’s Center.
"I like the diversity of ages," she said. "That’s the great thing about what I do. I get to play with the little ones, go play with middle years at Mount Greylock, and then secondary years at Drury. I love the energy of the adolescent child, and I love getting them excited about the arts."
Caton replaced Leonard Radin, who retired last spring after 25 years at the helm of the Drury Drama Team. Caton and media arts teacher Jamie Choquette supervise students for the newly established Drury Performing Arts Center, an initiative that puts students in charge of mounting their own production.
She also teaches the new American Musical Theatre class at Mount Greylock.
Principal Mary MacDonald referenced Caton’s work engaging students in music across disciplines. Last March, Caton facilitated a three-day residency of Ted Vigil, a singer-songwriter and John Denver tribute artist.
"She’s tenacious," MacDonald said. "She really is committed to develop a strong music program."
MacDonald also spoke of Caton’s working with local elementary schools to cultivate young children’s interest in music.
In speaking about her teaching philosophy, Caton spoke about a theater teacher that resonated with her. He had a "love and logic" approach, she said, and taught her valuable skills of patience and perseverance. In addition, she learned that the performing arts should be for anyone no matter their learning style, strategy or learning challenges.
"Everybody’s included," she said. "It’s a place of acceptance, for the student who struggles to the A-student."
A native of Long Island, Caton is a graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia and Stony Brook University. She also studied in the United Kingdom.
Her career has included performing with the Long Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Barry Manilow, teaching music and theater, and writing an autobiographical book, "Da Capo From the Beginning: Inspiring Life Lessons From The Other Side Of The Baton." The book was released earlier this year.
At Williams College, she works with children as young as 2, she said. She spends one day a week moving to different classrooms with a cart of instruments and music.
Caton said "there’s nothing better" than young children’s enthusiasm over using musical instruments.
"By the end of the session you don’t want to leave the class," she said.
To reach Edward Damon:
or (413) 663-3741, ext 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamonat
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