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Peabody teen organizes state youth art festival

Posted by Terri Ogan  June 28, 2013 03:45 PM

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For the last three summers, 17-year-old Peabody resident Sam Feinstein has gained inspiration from the imagination and talent of his fellow students at BIMA, Brandeis University's summer arts institute for high school students.

The soon-to-be high school senior sings, composes, plays the bass guitar, piano, and ukulele, among other instruments. About a year ago, Feinstein was struck with the idea of showcasing the work of talented youth all over the state.

Feinstein will finally get his chance by heading the Massachusetts Youth Arts Festival, which will take place on Sunday June 30 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Slosberg Music Center at Brandeis University in Waltham.

All proceeds from the festival will go to Boston's Music and Youth Initiative.

"Right now I'm a bit nervous trying to make sure that everything goes exactly as planned, but I'm very excited," Feinstein said. "It should be an amazing thing."

The event will feature approximately 40 middle school, high school, and college students from the North Shore and beyond, showcasing their talent and skills in a variety of fields.

The auditorium in the Slosberg building will be host to several performances including that of music, dance, film, and poetry readings, among others.

The open space outside the auditorium will have paintings, sculptures and other visual arts on display.

"I think it's rare that a teen can put together something of this size and scope together by himself," said Rachel Happel, director of BIMA and Genesis, two of Brandeis University's summer high school programs. "He's focused just on Massachusetts, but just Massachusetts is pretty big. He really had this vision of artists from all different disciplines coming together to share their work."

Happel added that she thought one of Feinstein's biggest challenges was balancing his busy high school schedule of band practice, choir practice, studying for the SATs and music lessons, while organizing this event.

"At the end of the program [BIMA], all of the artists show their work," Feinstein said. "I thought it was a cool idea so I decided to implement it for the state."

Not only did Feinstein organize the event, but he's also participating in it.

Feinstein is set to perform on stage with his band, The Seabees, in a 45-minute set.

The Seabees is an eight-piece Ska band, which is a genre that fuses jazz, rock and reggae. "It was was very popular in the 90s," Feinstein said.

"It's really his idea and his baby," Happel said. "I'm really proud of him. He's an amazing musician and is a real leader and initiator in the community. I've seen tremendous growth in Sam over the course of the years."

Terri Ogan can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter.

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