Posts filed under ‘Music’

Parkside chorus performs Nelson Mandela tribute at Georgia Dome during ‘Battle of the Bands’

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In front of an audience of over 50,000 fans, on January 25th, the Parkside Elementary School chorus performed at the Georgia Dome with South Carolina State University‘s ‘Marching 101′ during Honda Battle of the Bands. The performance was a tribute to Nelson Mandela as they sang “Dry Your Tears, Africa” by John Williams, in an African dialect.

Denetra Henderson, Parkside music specialist and chorus instructor, was approached three weeks ago by the assistant band director at South Carolina State University regarding this rare opportunity. Henderson states that it was a wonderful chance for the elementary aged students to be exposed to college life as they interacted with the band members before and during the performance. Students, she explained, learned that they could major in any field in college while still pursuing their musical talents.  “The performance was wonderful… it was electrifying and it was exciting,” said Henderson, a 26 year veteran with APS and former conductor of the district’s prestigious honor elementary chorus.

“The students are learning about the colleges represented at the Honda Battle of the Bands, and are continuing their conversations in class about college and careers,” she said.

Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T University, South Carolina State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Winston-Salem State University all took center field during the competition.

Emotions during the performance ranged from excitement to fear, but the young performers didn’t let their nervousness show.  Fifth grader Malaika Alilaw thought the opportunity was the chance of a lifetime.  “I like to sing and Ms. Henderson is my favorite teacher,” said the fourth year chorus member.

No stranger to singing or music — Malaika’s mother is an opera singer – we asked if her mother’s career led to her joining the Parkside chorus.  “Opera is a type of music that really touches you, but I sing in the Parkside chorus because it is something that I really want to do.  After I started in the chorus, my mom told me that when she was my age she also sang in her school chorus.  I thought that was really great.”

When asked if she was nervous about singing in front of a large audience Malaika told us the secret behind looking so confident, “It wasn’t really scary because we had a chance to go to the stadium on Thursday to practice.  By the time we arrived on Saturday, we knew what to expect.”

This event marked the 12th year for the event, which showcases the musical talents and showmanship of bands representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

About The Honda Battle of the Bands:   “The Honda Battle of the Bands continues to support HBCU music education programs across the nation, while producing an entertaining show that never fails to get fans to their feet,” said Gina Jorge, head of Multicultural Marketing for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We are honored to showcase this incredible musical talent, and are dedicated to sustaining music education at these institutions, through the grants awarded to each participating university.”

Widely known as “The Honda,” The Honda Battle of the Bands was created to celebrate, support and recognize the excellence of Black college marching bands and the unique academic experience offered by HBCUs. The participating eight marching bands each received a $20,000 grant for their school’s music education programs from Honda, along with an all-expense paid trip to Atlanta, to perform at the 2014 Invitational Showcase.

About South Carolina State University:  The “Marching 101” of South Carolina State is known coast to coast for its brilliant sound, high energy and exceptional musicianship. The band’s name is actually a misnomer, since the current band boasts a membership of more than 200. Under its present director Eddie Ellis, they have entertained thousands of spectators across the Southeast and millions more via various media. The band has performed during pro football halftime shows, on local and national TV, and at national events and parades.  Since their inception in 1918, the school’s bands have been an important part of the Orangeburg community and the state of South Carolina.

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January 31, 2014 at 9:45 am 3 comments

Help your favorite music educator win a spot at the 2014 GRAMMY awards

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March is Music in our Schools Month, and the GRAMMY Foundation and the Recording Academy are providing an incredible opportunity for you to publicly thank your favorite music teacher.

The organizations are partnering to present the first-ever Music Educator Award to recognize music educators for their contributions to our musical landscape and their positive influence on their students’ musical experiences.  The GRAMMY Foundation will fly one lucky winner to Los Angeles during GRAMMY week 2014, and present that person with the award along with a $10,000 honorarium.

Boyd Elementary School music teacher Deborah Howard watches the GRAMMYs every year, and says she thinks the award is long overdue.

“Lots of music teachers are unsung heroes,” stated Howard.  “Every year I watch the program, and I think about how great the artists are who are receiving the awards.  Then I wonder how they learned to play instruments, to sing, to perform.IMG_1708

“Someone had to teach them about presentation and how to understand and appreciate music,” Howard added.  “Music educators have influenced many of these entertainers, and by way of their music, that influence has positively impacted millions around the world.”

Nominees must:

  • be a current music-based teacher
  • teach in the United States
  • teach music to students in any grade from kindergarten through college, in public or private schools

Howard believes the Music Educator of the Year Award focuses on the future by celebrating what teachers are doing now.

” Amazing new artists emerge every year, and the people at the GRAMMYs organization are thinking about the great musicians of tomorrow by recognizing people who are shaping them today.  They always talk about appreciating music educators — I’m excited to see them putting their money where their mouth is.”

Anyone can nominate a teacher; in fact, teachers can even nominate themselves. The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2013.  For more information, visit www.grammymusicteacher.com.

March 24, 2013 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

The Atlanta Music Project Invests in Coan’s String Orchestra

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The string orchestra at Coan Middle School has gained momentum since they received the Atlanta Music Project grant through the Zeist Foundation in September 2012. The Atlanta Music Project was generous to provide instruments for students, and teaching artists who visit the orchestra classes one day per week. These professional musicians also select students for sectionals and provide group lessons after school. The orchestra students at Coan have the opportunity to further their music education as they develop their instrumental talents in school under the strong leadership of Bridgette Yancy, the String Orchestra Teacher, and trained professionals from the Atlanta Music Project.

Coan’s String Orchestra Concert:
Thursday, February 21st
6:30 p.m.

Coan Middle School’s Annual Fine Arts Festival

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The Atlanta Music Project is a non-profit organization founded in 2010, which has grown to serve more than 87 students at three sites, including Coan Middle School. Rameau, the Executive Director of Atlanta Music Project, can quote statistics that indicate improved test scores, elevated reading comprehension and higher graduation rates from students who have participated in the program. They believe that intense musical training supports the development of confidence, resilience, creativity, and ambition, leading to a positive change in the children and the community.

For more information on the Atlanta Music Project, please visit http://atlantamusicproject.org.

February 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm 1 comment

Springdale Park’s Chorus Performs “O, Canada” at Gwinnett Gladiators Game

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On Saturday, January 12th, the Springdale Park Advanced Chorus performed the Canadian National Anthem “O, Canada” at the Gwinnett Gladiators Game vs. the Kalamazoo Wings. Over 120 Springdale Park fans were present to support the chorus. The Gladiators are the ECHL Affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres and the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League and are members of the ECHL, the Premier “AA” Hockey League.


The event was part of a FUN-raiser with many benefits for Springdale Park Choruses:

  • Family and friends of the chorus members were able to buy reduced-price ticket sales for the game
  • The Children had an unforgettable experience singing for a huge professional sports team audience
  • Because Springdale Park sold more than 100 tickets, their music program will receive a donation back from the Gladiators!

The Springdale Park Choruses have performed the US National Anthem for multiple sporting events around town, including Georgia Tech Women’s Volleyball and Basketball games and Springdale Park’s 5th Grade Basketball Challenge. The performers wanted to try something new for the Gladiators game by singing the Canadian Anthem. They further challenged themselves by learning the bi-lingual version of “O, Canada”, singing it in English and French!

“I am so proud of the beautiful singing and grateful for the dedication and hard work devoted by all of our Springdale Park Chorus and Advanced Chorus members! The kids blew me away with their lovely sound and excellent diction!” says Brianne Turgeon, Music/Chorus Teacher at Springdale Park.

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Springdale Park is looking forward to the upcoming events:

  • February 9 – The Community Children’s Chorus Festival, featuring choruses from Springdale Park, Mary Lin, The Swift School (private), Henderson Mill (DeKalb), and Atlanta Young Singers (of Callanwolde)
  • February 13 – Advanced Chorus performance at LGPE at Mays High School
  • April 27 – The Inman Park Festival Parade
  • May 13 – Spring Music Concert

For more information, please visit Music@SPARK’s blog: http://springdaleparkmusic.blogspot.com/

January 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm 2 comments

APS and the CEP providing cultural, artistic experiences and learning to Atlanta Public School students

The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs created the Cultural Experience Project to give every Atlanta Public School student, from Pre-Kindergarten through the 12th Grade, the opportunity to experience the city’s premier arts and cultural venues. The vision is for every student in Atlanta Public Schools to have at least one on site experience at an arts and cultural venue each year. The goal is for the students to have an education enhancing encounter that directly ties to the Georgia Learning Performance Standards and curriculum goals.

The CEP provides field trips to APS students that are entirely funded by private donations from Turner Broadcasting, The Zeist Foundation, Loridans Foundation, Keneda Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare in American Communities program and other local businesses and partners. CEP was started under the administration of Mayor Shirley Franklin and has continued under Mayor Kasim Reed. Events are offered free of charge to all APS students and are administered by the APS Fine Arts Department.

“The Cultural Experience Project model ensures that all APS students can access Atlanta’s cultural assets regardless of family finances, where they live, or what school they attend,: said City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Director Camille Russell Love. “We want every child to have opportunities at no cost to them. Even transportation is funded through a generous grant from Turner Broadcasting.”

“The Cultural Experience Project provides powerful educational experiences for all Atlanta Public School students and provides real-world connections for classroom learning while opening students’ hearts and minds to new intellectual and aesthetic horizons. Many students would never otherwise experience the rich cultural life of the city, and because of this program, new generations of citizens will grow up knowing how to take full advantage of the cultural, civic and artistic wealth here in Atlanta, ” said Raymond Veon, Interim Director, Fine and Performing Arts Department, Teaching and Learning for Atlanta Public Schools.

In its first seven years, the Cultural Experience Project has provided over 233,000 cultural experiences that have enhanced classroom learning to the district’s elementary, middle and high school students. The City of Atlanta envisions the opportunity for 100% of its students to experience the wealth of Atlanta’s cultural venues as a part of a “best in class” education through the Atlanta Public Schools.

October 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

Miles and Springdale Park Elementary students represent APS in statewide elementary honor chorus

The Georgia Music Educator’s Statewide Elementary Honor Chorus was held the weekend of October 28th in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Students from Atlanta Public School’s LP Miles Elementary and Springdale Park Elementary represented APS among almost 500 of the best elementary chorus members across the state of Georgia.

The Georgia Music Educators Association Statewide Elementary Honor Chorus is a yearly event for excellent choral singers from all over the state of Georgia.  GMEA Honor Chorus is an opportunity for singers to meet kids from all over Georgia who share their passion for singing and music, plus each choir had the opportunity to work with widely-known choral conductors Craig Hurley from the Spivey Hall Children’s Chorus and Phillip Shoultz from Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, Gwinnett Young Singers, and the Gwinnett Choral Guild.

October 31, 2011 at 12:58 am Leave a comment

Grady High students prepare for Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Winter Concert

Two Grady High students will join the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for the group’s Winter Concert on Saturday, March 12, at Symphony Hall inside the Woodruff Arts Center. Junior cellist Andrew Cleveland and senior bassist Kiah Simmons will perform with more than 100 talented youth musicians in this orchestra geared toward 13-18-year-olds.        

 “I love it because I’ve made a lot of friends in there,” Cleveland said. “I know everyone even though we have around 100 people.”

Cleveland, a four-year member orchestra, has been playing the cello for nine years, following his grandmother’s dream.

 “My grandmother played cello,” Cleveland said. “I play with her old cello, which is like 120 years old. It’s great for me because music is a beautiful thing and a fun way to express yourself.”

Cleveland practices cello Monday through Thursday, four hours a day, in addition to ASYO practices every Saturday morning. He balances this and playing bass in a rock band called Lotus Slide.

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March 10, 2011 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

APS educators raise their voices in chorus for Atlanta Opera production of ‘Porgy and Bess’

Photo by Tim Wilkerson/Atlanta Opera

We couldn’t be prouder of Miles and Adamsville elementary chorus teacher Letricia Henson and Douglass High choral director Ben Polite, who currently are performing in the chorus for the Atlanta Opera‘s sold-out run of “Porgy and Bess” this week at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. It should be noted that the opera chorus already has received rave reviews, and we’d like to think Henson and Polite are two big-voice reasons why.

And this isn’t Henson’s first rodeo with George and Ira Gerswhin‘s iconic opera, which tells the story of African Americans in Depression Era Charleston, S.C. She sang in the opera chorus for the Atlanta Opera’s first mounting of “Porgy and Bess” back in 2005, and the following year performed the opera in Paris with the same group. (It marked the first time an American opera chorus of this kind was ever invited to perform in a European music hall, Henson notes.)

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February 28, 2011 at 9:59 pm 1 comment

Young Middle welcomes Little Kids Rock — and rocks

Big thanks to Young Middle orchestra director Erik Herndon for pointing out this article in today’s AJC, in which singer-songwriter Joshua Radin of the popular Little Kids Rock organization visited the school to share his thoughts on the value of music and help donate instruments to 30 students. (OK, it probably didn’t hurt that Mr. Herndon, a passionate advocate for Little Kids Rock, was quoted in the article, but he’s already a rock star at APS.)

As Radin walked the kids through the chord progressions, Erik Herndon, the orchestra director and guitar instructor at Jean Childs Young and an Atlanta ambassador for LKR, stood nearby with this own guitar, spiritedly playing along.
Herndon is an energetic emissary for LKR because he has seen its benefits in the classroom.
“[This program] has empowered my students to explore their creativity, self-expression and passion for music,” Herndon said. “Imagine a classroom where students are just as comfortable interpreting Alicia Keys as they are Bach or jamming out on Beatles songs before band and orchestra classes.”

It’s community partners like these that help keep our students on their path to success. Thanks to Little Kids Rock and Mr. Herndon for sharing the good news.

February 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Sutton Middle’s Natalie Colbert to serve as state president of American String Teachers Association

Sutton Middle School orchestra director Natalie Colbert has been tabbed to serve as the state president of the American String Teachers Association. She also has been elected as the Georgia Music Educators Association’s state orchestra division chairman for 2011-13.

“I am honored to work with awesome colleagues in APS and throughout the state,” Ms. Colbert said. “I will work hard to represent our school system and the students we all serve.”

Colbert has worked at Sutton Middle for 30 years. The Sutton Orchestra Program maintains an enrollment of 165 students. Each year, three Sutton orchestras attend the District Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE) for evaluation and have consistently earned Superior and Excellent ratings. The orchestra has performed in the All-American Music Festival in Orlando, Fla., earning Superior ratings for 10 consecutive years. They also have performed at the National Adjudicators Invitational, earning Superior ratings. In 2010, the orchestra was awarded “Most Outstanding Strings” and “Best Middle School Orchestra.”

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February 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

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