Yesterday afternoon, the Children’s Chorale Prep Choir performed for over 300 students and staff at Foothills Elementary school in Lakewood, home of one of the Chorale’s School Partnerships. Prep Choir performed music from their spring concert set, some songs that they will perform at the Performing Small Miracles concert in May, and some of the beloved Chorale “standards”- a group of songs that Chorale kids sing throughout their time in the Chorale. Not only did they do an outstanding job of singing beautifully and dancing their “fidgety feet” away, they had fun doing it!
Here are some pictures from the rehearsal before the performance.
Spotlight: Barbara Donahue- Principal, Foothills Elementary
Barbara Donahue is in her fourth year as principal at Foothills Elementary in Lakewood. The school has about 300 students, from Pre-Kindergarten-6th grade. Their music specialist Emily Branam (wife of Colorado Children’s Chorale assistant conductor Travis Branam) came to Foothills in 2008 and joined the Chorale’s School Partnership program that same year, where now nearly 70 Foothills 2nd- 6th graders meet every Tuesday or Thursday morning to sing and dance (5 of whom are also members of the Children’s Chorale Prep Choir). Donahue spoke with the Chorale Connection about how interest in music has grown at her school over the last two years, other programs the Foothills students are involved in, and what the school has worked to improve on since she came to the school.
CC: What have you liked about this partnership program so far with the Chorale?
BD: I like how it’s encouraged kids in music. And to explore music more on a more advanced level.
CC: Do you think the kids are getting a lot out of it?
BD: You bet. Oh, you bet.
CC: Do you feel like the role that music’s played at the school has really grown over the last couple of years then?
BD: Yes it has. And Emily (Branam) and Travis (Branam) have encouraged more and more students to get involved this year. Emily started a prep choir for second grade. So the whole program has grown from no choir at all to (70) plus kids in choir. When you think about it, our preschool can’t do it and Kindergarten is 50 kids, so that’s 80 kids right there through Preschool and Kindergarten (that can’t be in the choir). So a good portion of our kids are involved with choir who are eligible.
What are some other programs here at Foothills that the kids are involved in?
BD: We have a running club and we have an art club. Actually, we have two art clubs. We also have a club called “I wanna be a rock star.” They’re using Guitar Hero and singing and dancing. I think they’re using the Wii too, and that’s all through a grant program. With Partners in Learning, students help students with special needs. We have 6th grade leaders, where our 6th graders adopt a class and they help those kids either at lunchtime or in the assemblies, things like that. We also have Student Council. KIDS — which is our news program — Library Helpers, and Spelling Bee.
What’s one thing over the last couple of years that has really improved, or something you have really made an effort to improve?
BD: A positive environment. We’re a PBS school which is Positive Behavior Support. The overall climate of the school is more positive, and our discipline rates are down.