Jefferson Performing Arts Society¬'s Dennis Assaf Recieves National Theatre Award
Maestro Dennis Assaf and the Jefferson Performing Arts Society based in Metairie, Louisiana was recently honored with an award from the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT). The award was presented to Maestro Assaf at the AACT NYC Convention 2012, NY, July 14, 2012.
The AACT Distinguished Merit Award is presented to individuals and organizations in recognition of contributions made to promote and develop the highest standards for community theatre. Under Dennis G. Assaf’s artistic vision and community leadership, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) was born in 1978. In the ensuing years, Maestro Assaf has created educational outreach programs for children and adults in music, dance, and community theatre. He serves as the Executive/Artistic Director and Conductor. In 1989 the JPAS "Theatre Wing" was launched with an amazing production of West Side Story. Over the next 20+ years JPAS expanded its theatrical offerings to include four summer musical intensive camps in two different theatres simultaneously, currently serving over 450 kids in grades 3-7 and 8-12. In 2004 JPAS grew again with the "Theatre Kids!" program, which offers two full musical theatre productions annually. Typically 150 children are cast into two groups of 75 to afford as many children as possible the opportunity for self-expression. In 2007 the Theatre for Young Audiences was created and serves as JPAS’ community theatre touring component in five South Louisiana parishes and Mississippi.
Maestro Assaf holds a BME from Loyola University and a Master of Music in Conducting from University of New Orleans. He is a frequent guest conductor of symphony, ballet, musical theatre, and grand opera around the globe. Maestro Assaf made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 1993 and his European debut in 1998. He has received many varied awards and has dedicated these last 34 years to pursuing the dream of a new performing arts center for Jefferson Parish. He secured a $15 million pledge from the state of Louisiana. The center is now under construction.
The AACT National Convention gathers artists and community theatre leaders from across the country to meet and discuss best practices, arts advocacy and artistic development for communities, as well as providing a great opportunity to network with artists and directors throughout the U.S.