2024 Youth Advocate Honorees

Alisabeth Von Presley

Alisabeth Von Presley is an award-winning songwriter, championship choreographer, and has been seen on ABC’s American Idol and NBC’s American Song Contest.

“Alisabeth is more than just a performer, she’s a force of nature” says one reviewer after watching AVP put on a 3-hour, high-energy show. “Her music is a fusion of dance, pop, and rock that will have you dancing along from the first beat, and this audience of over 1,500 would agree.” Her latest single, “Wonder,” was released on Atlantic Records and is the embodiment of what this pop rocker stands for – self-acceptance and rock ‘n’ roll.

When she is not on the stage herself, she can be found wearing crazy leggings teaching dance teams, show choirs and musical theatre productions for most of our area high schools and middle schools – currently celebrating her 14th year at Kennedy High School and her 17th year choreographing competitive show choir in the Corridor. Alisabeth opened her own studio to teach “Rockstar Lessons” last year, where she works one on one with students to focus on finding their voice, gaining confidence through singing, dancing and acting, as well as helping them lean into what makes them unique, rather than shying away from it.

Alisabeth’s signature pink hair and unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll style are what sets her apart from the rest. She believes that everyone deserves to feel like a rockstar, and she aims to accomplish just that through her music, her live show, and her open invitation to be yourself throughout everything she does.

David Griffin

David is an accomplished pianist and choral director. Over the last 30 years, David has taught music to youth of all ages across the state of Iowa, most prominently in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. He spent 11 years as the choral music/drama director at McKinley Middle School and nine years at Harding Middle School. Since 2017, he has served as the choral music director at Franklin Middle School.

Throughout his career, David’s creative and innovative teaching style earned him many awards and special recognitions in and around the state, including the Alternative Services Child Advocate Volunteer Award; the Golden Apple Award; Teacher of the Day Award by the Iowa House of Representatives; and the 2014 Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival Hero Award, to name a few. In David’s 28 years in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, his show choir groups have won 48 Grand Champion Awards and 16 Runner-Up Awards.

David is the founder of the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy, a nonprofit arts education program serving Cedar Rapids and beyond, from which he retired after 16 years as executive director in January 2023. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in piano performance and k-12 choral music education, and a master’s degree in secondary educational administration from the University of Northern Iowa. David will retire from education in June 2024.

2023 Youth Advocate Honoree

Lovar Davis Kidd

Lovar Davis Kidd (he/him/they), a native of Cedar Rapids, is an interdisciplinary performer, a dance researcher focused on the Black dancing body, musician, poet, and dance maker. He is an MFA candidate in choreography at the University of Iowa. L.D. engages in choreographic research that is grounded in the intersection of contemporary movement practices with Black vernacular aesthetics. Through studying African American secular dance, percussion, and orthopraxy of the 21st century, he is seeking a deeper understanding of how the dancing body is a vessel for spiritual communication. Dance is a powerful explorative practice; therefore, intertwining percussion, dance, and spirituality is a tool for revolutionary freedom. His art-making process reflects his Black heritage and is rooted in social justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (EDIAB), as is his work through his company, 100% OVER RACISM. L.D. has performed extensively in dance and musical theatre productions throughout the United States. Most notably, Kidd performed in the 2011-12 Second National Tour of Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, Tim Rice & Elton John’s Aida at Sacramento Music Circus, Disney California Adventure Park’s Aladdin “A Musical Spectacular,” and with the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. L.D. has also danced for Helanius J. Wilkins’ EDGEWORKS Dance Theater and Los Angeles-based dance companies Word In Motion and Urban Poets.

As an educator, L.D. has taught in various capacities. He is a teaching artist with Throughline Arts, specializing in arts integration with K-8 students. L.D. also worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Iowa for 10 years, teaching jazz, tap, hip-hop and dance for musical theatre. In addition, L.D. is the founder of MOvMNT Dance Company, a nonprofit contemporary and hip-hop dance company in Cedar Rapids that has had the privilege of providing hundreds of under-served students with affordable dance classes and performance opportunities for 13 years.

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