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Grant brings in Teaching Artist to RMS choir students

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Grant brings in Teaching Artist to RMS choir students

Choir students at Richfield Middle School enjoyed a special treat in April, thanks to a grant provided by Chorus America. Aimee K. Bryant, a teaching artist and local performer, spent the whole week working with the students in unique and fun ways. Aimee taught a five-day curriculum that centered on the themes of “Music as Resistance” and singing in community. 

“Music as resistance means that students will explore the ways that music has been (and continues to be) used as a tool for social change and taking down systems of oppression,” explained the choral teacher, Eugene Sandel. “We learned about the history of certain genres of music that have been part of resistance movements, and how we can use music today as a tool for change.”

During her week at RMS, Aimee shared her stories with students, taught them songs from her childhood and culture, and focused on singing as a community together. Students learned new vocal techniques as well as music history and culture.

“I appreciate the fact that she taught us protest music because music adds a bit of meaning and personality to the words you're saying,” said student Vivian. “It's a powerful thing when everyone is promoting the same message in unison.”

According to Mr. Sandel, “Singing in community is at the heart of choir; it's the main reason most choral musicians decide to sing and it is one of the main things that sustains choral musicians in our work and profession. Part of this curriculum we received is focused on the importance of singing in community with others and all the benefits that it brings, and I really believe that is a message our musicians at RMS need to hear. I can't speak exactly for them, but I do feel that the community that is built within the RMS choir program is one that reaches far beyond the four walls of my classroom and creates bonds between students that really mean something to them.”

The week wrapped up with a performance from Aimee along with other teaching artists from COMPAS. We are grateful to Aimee for sharing her experiences with our students and enjoyed watching them work together this week. 

“This has been an amazing opportunity for our students because it is not something we get to do or interact with everyday,” said Mr. Sandel. “It's a chance for them to hear and learn from someone else, to do something different, to grow and learn, to take in new information, and to do all of that while expanding and building on their current knowledge they've gained throughout the course of the year.”

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