Middle school students from Excel Charter Academy joined high schoolers Dec. 5 at Grand River Prep to celebrate the holidays and perform with their more experienced peers. The collaboration gave Excel students a chance to familiarize themselves with a high school music program they might join someday.
“The benefits for the kids, it’s almost like when we have students that go to honors band, and they're around all strong musicians, they feel their skill set, being pulled upward just out of influence,” said Grand River Prep Music Teacher Jeff Ingraham. “I think it was a mutual opportunity for both ends to get some benefit. For us, obviously, the recruiting and for them to have the opportunity to sing with strong singers.”
For Grand River Prep, it was an opportunity to show potential future Titans what the school has to offer.
“From our point of view, the benefits are when students come into the school, there's some face recognition of who the music teacher is, some knowledge of what our choirs are capable of doing to help build interest for them. Something to inspire them toward,” Ingraham said.
The winter concert song catalogue included “When the World Was at Peace” and concluded with a singalong that had the audience and the band playing and everyone crooning together.
The Friday before the concert, Ingraham and the Grand River Prep students came to Excel to practice. This allowed them to provide mentorship to Excel students in a relaxed environment prior to the performance.
“The trip to Excel is an opportunity for our students to go and help the K-8 students learn the music and feel more comfortable for the performance,” Grand River Prep Principal Mike Irwin said.
The Grand River Prep students have a busy schedule the rest of the school year, including choir festival, band festival, and spring concert cycles. Even with the full slate, Ingraham is hopeful to sneak in another collaboration with middle school students.
“It was a really great opportunity,” he said.
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National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a network of more than 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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