Gilpin Elementary students spring arts programs

Ceramics displays, band and choir music delight family and friends

by Patty Unruh

Gilpin Elementary traditional and Montessori students from preschool through fifth grade proudly presented their artwork and music skills to family members, friends, and community members with two programs last week. The school auditorium and atrium were packed on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, May 8-9.

Ceramic animal and flower sculptures in bright red, orange, yellow, and green transformed the atrium into an art gallery. The art was part of several projects this year that integrated history, science, or language arts with art and music. During the concert, art teacher Curt Halsted noted that students could leave their pieces at school if they wished, and the art would go on display this summer at the Gilpin County Public Library or at the Gilpin County Arts Association gallery in Central City.

Music director Misti Ebers warmly welcomed everyone and extended special thanks to Superintendent David MacKenzie, Elementary Principal Heather Huntoon, the elementary teachers, middle school student lighting tech Zach Gebhart, and the custodians. Several other middle schoolers helped lead children on and off stage, do setup and takedown, and assist with conducting. Ebers especially thanked the parents, acknowledging their patience in listening to their children practice.

Upper elementary students performed on Wednesday. The young people are getting a head start on instrumental music. The fifth grade band and orchestra began with selections from the Yamaha Primer, guided by musician Bobbie Hill. Potential future flutists from the fifth grade performed “Valentine Hill” on recorders. To recognize Earth Day, fifth graders also sang the fun, rhythmic “Hello Earth,” utilizing ukuleles on that and other songs.

Fourth graders have studied Colorado history this year. In keeping with that topic, they presented “Colorado Columbine” and additional tunes about the Gold Rush, Mountain Men, Pike’s Peak, and the Iron Horse (steam locomotive).

Third graders contributed “Gotta Have the Music,” and all of the upper el students joined together to express, inspire, and celebrate with “I Have to Sing,” “The Climb,” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

The spotlight shone on the little guys Thursday evening. Montessori preschoolers and kindergartners impressed with their recently acquired knowledge of solfege in “Do Re Mi,” followed by the childhood favorites “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” They celebrated the seasons with “Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.” “We get all of those in one day here!” Ebers joked.

Kindergartners parodied a Justin Timberlake song by belting out “Can’t Stop the Kinder!” — a celebration of kindergarten graduation. First grade is going to be awesome!

Middle school student Adele Fisher gave a lovely performance with a special solo number, “Journey to the Past” from the movie Anastasia.

The centerpiece of the program was the “Colorado Animals” video and parade by the first and second graders. This was a collaboration by first grader teacher Elizabeth Hamilton, second grade teacher Laura Bohan, Ebers, and Halsted. The teachers had worked with the children in writing poems about animals. Halsted extended the project with animal artwork, and Ebers incorporated music. The students wore construction paper headdresses of Colorado animals such as the eagle, owl, fox, and ram. They marched through the auditorium and onto the stage to sing and keep time with a Native American-style drumbeat, while animal videos were projected onto the stage wall.

The whole gang returned to the stage for “Boomwhacker Boogie,” featuring pool noodle percussion. The Gilpin students’ grand finale was PinkFong’s “Baby Shark,” a nationwide song craze that has gone viral and stays in the mind for days after hearing it. The kids seemed to imitate a shark feeding frenzy, enthusiastically working their arms up and down like snapping jaws.

It was all good, and the students got a huge round of applause. Returning to the “four seasons” song reference, Ebers wished everyone a safe summer and said, “See you next year!”

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