GAC’s fifth-grade students recently performed in their "Rock and Roll Forever: How It All Began" music program. The program aimed to take the audience back to the days of American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Soul Train to explore the roots of rock and roll music.
According to Dr. Robin Hensley, Lower School Music Teacher, the preparation for the program began in the fall semester. The students learned about the history of rock and roll, its roots, and the events that shaped the culture and music of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. The program featured music from some greats, including Elvis Presley, The Andrews Sisters, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Beach Boys, Lesley Gore, The Crystals, The Beatles, The Jackson Five, Rich Mullins, and Kenny Loggins, among others.
Hensley emphasized the importance of studying and understanding all styles of music.
"Knowing and understanding all styles of music creates an appreciation for performance, an awareness of individual likes and preferences, and inspiration for using our God-given talents for music and all the fine arts," she said. "My prayer is for all our students to love making music, to delight in sharing it, and to respect all musicians for the hard work and creativity required to present an excellent performance. We all have God-given talents that can be developed and shared. Music is a life gift."
Lower School students are exposed to various genres of music, such as folk, jazz, hip-hop, world music, patriotic, Broadway songs, movie soundtracks, gospel songs, spirituals, hymns, classical, blues, pop, and more. Performance is integral to studying music because it promotes confidence, poise, self-awareness, self-assurance, discipline, and commitment.
In addition, the Lower School art class units at GAC intentionally correlate with the art class units.
Tammy Whitworth, Lower School Art Teacher, said that the process of collaborating with Hensley evolved by Hensley sharing the music themes for the various grade-level programs for the school year, with Whitworth in turn developing an art unit that incorporates the visual elements of those themes.
Students worked on a graphic design project for the “Rock and Roll Forever: How It All Began” program. A shoe that ties in with the song “Footloose.”
An art gallery with the students’ work was displayed in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center on the day of the performance for parents and guests to enjoy. One student's piece of art was chosen to be displayed on slides across campus and on social media to promote the music program.
“It was so much fun to watch the ‘pop style' of the lesson. Students integrated a candy wrapper of their choice, which influenced their lines, shapes, and color scheme choices, just like popular culture influenced rock and roll,” Whitworth said. "There is so much learning and depth to a unit when teachers collaborate."
At GAC, forward-thinking innovation creates well-rounded students. When teachers collaborate and class themes are correlated across subjects, learning is expanded and deepened. This performance was one of the many activities that cultivated students' love for music, their respect for the musicians who created it, and their understanding of the history and culture that shaped it.
See the complete photo gallery from the program here.