An east Memphis elementary school is integrating visual arts, music, theatre and dance into the curriculum, and students are kicking off 30 days of opera. Sherwood Elementary is this week’s Local Cool School.
Before the night’s bright lights, before the audience takes their seat, there’s practice. “Lots and lots of practicing,” says 4th grader Macie Pratcher.
These fourth graders are getting in place and getting ready for the free concert at Sherwood Elementary featuring Opera Memphis. Ms. Dorcas Hill makes sure everyone is in line, in order, and on key.
“We have to get into position and we have to stand-still, and for some reason I’m always like wiggly jiggly,” says Peyton Neeley.
The chorus will be the opening act for Opera Memphis and its 30 Days of Opera series. Teachers tell us sharing the stage with Opera Memphis is an experience on its own. But students also benefit another way: exposure.
“I’d like for them to understand that there are other styles of music than rap, rhythm and blues pop and rock,” says Hill. “I’d like for them to take a love of opera, be interested and want to go to a concert and how hard the opera singers work”
Music, the visual arts, theatre and dance, all of it, helping students learn in the classroom at Sherwood.
“I think everyone understands how important the arts are,” says Hill, “…and, how it can help children to learn.”
And helping students be the best they can be. “If I practice it makes perfect. Practice makes everything good,” says Pratcher.