The organization is made up of troupes which sing and perform internationally. Along with performing the show, cast members participate in community impact activities and assist volunteer organizations as a way to give back to the communities that host them. Today the size of the troupe has been scaled back. Currently the organization has two groups traveling each year, one from January to June and the other from July to December.
Young people from many countries were represented in the performance of "Sing-Out 65". The cast of Sing-Out 65 traveled to Japan at the invitation of the Prime Minister, with cast members staying in private homes, including the homes of members of parliament. The cast performed on Japanese television and on the Kabuki Stage in Tokyo. Traveling throughout the country — from the island of Hokkaido in the north, to Tokyo and by train to Kobe — the cast took a ferry to South Korea. In South Korea the cast performed at military facilities and visited the Demilitarized Zone at Panmunjeom. Sing Out Asia was formed from the visits of the US national casts and several albums were recorded from Sing Out Asia.
Back in the U.S., the cast became 'Sing-Out 66.' The show toured around the country, attracting volunteers and led to the formation of three "Up with People" casts (A, B, and C). With these multiple casts the show sang and performed for audiences around the world including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Central and South America, and Japan. Training and recruitment festivals were held on Fort Slocum, an island off New Rochelle, New York, for several summers in the mid-1960s.
Students around the world applied to join Sing Out 66/ "Up With People," and the organization began to encourage formation of local and regional "Sing Out" groups. Several editions of "How to Create a Sing Out" were published and offered music and staging directions to local "Sing Out" casts. Members of the larger traveling casts would often visit the local groups for encouragement and unity of purpose. The national organization also published a newspaper, Tomorrow's American News, incorporating news of the "Up With People" casts and that of the many regional "Sing Out" groups.
In 1968 the name was changed to "Up with People," incorporated as a non profit organization and severed ties with MRA. Up With People's relationship to local "Sing Out" casts wained in the late 1960s and finally broke affilication with the Sing Out Program in 1968. Without the support of UWP, the local Sing Outs accross the country began to fade themselves.
In 1971, a group of local Sing Out representatives met in Waco, Texas for the first conference of the National Sing Out Action Council (NSOAC) which in 1977, would become People International Inc. (Pii) A group that still travels and performs today.
Over the years, the Sing-Outs and Up with People played in diverse venues around the U.S., including universities, high schools, hockey arenas, the Hollywood Bowl, National Conventions for Republicans and Democrats, the Air Force Academy, Ft. Benning, Ft. Campbell, and many more. In 1976, Up with People performed the National Anthem at the Indianapolis 500. Most notably, from 1976 to 1986, Up with People performed in four Super Bowl halftime shows.
Faced with dire finances, Up With People's Board of Directors voted in December, 2000, to suspend operations. People attending the show in Denmark were outraged by the high ticket prices. While it appeared to be the end of the popular upbeat show, many approaches to re-organization were explored, with the results being the WordlSmart Leadership Program in 2004 and a re-organized "Up With People" touring group commencing in 2005 and continuing.
While there is still a performance element, it is not the core focus of the program; now known as the Celebration, it was a short presentation of dance, music, singing, multimedia, speech, and acting, as well as sharing their experiences of the city. The Celebration's aim was to get the people of the local community together with people from all over the world.
Besides the Celebration, other main elements of the WorldSmart Leadership Program include:
Besides this, many other side projects and activities were also run and organized by both staff and students, allowing them to use the skills they have learned through the program.
Three semesters of the program have traveled so far: August 2004, February 2005, and August 2005.
Today, Up with People provides a six month international leadership program for young adults (ages 18 to 29) from around the world. Each Up with People “cast” of up to 100 participants travels together to at least two continents and often to more than six countries with diverse cultural, political, and economic conditions.
The program emphasizes community projects with international service partners and a global education curriculum. The current show is a multi-media, intercultural program that uses music and dance that attempts to educate the audience about their community’s needs and inspire them to take action. The proceeds from the show are given to a local charity. After each show, a community fair is hosted where charitable organizations set up informational booths.
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