Bridging the Musical Journey from Elementary to Middle School in D97

Julian's choral director, Andrew Seymour, along with the "Jukebox" student choir, traveled to Longfellow Elementary School on January 17 for a special performance. The middle schoolers sang a gospel-style version of "Deck the Hall" and an arrangement of "Seize the Day" from the musical Newsies that they learned only last week in rehearsal. Afterward, an audience filled with fourth- and fifth-graders in the Longfellow choir had the chance to ask questions.

Longfellow students' hands shot into the air during the Q&A, curious to know whether they can be in choir and band or orchestra when they get to the middle school, why there are nine different choirs at Julian, and what Jukebox’s favorite song is to perform ("Light in the Hallway" arranged by Roger Emerson, it turns out). 

Then, it was the younger students’ turn to take center stage. Led by teachers Megan Ablan and Judy Friesen, the elementary choir showcased their own vocals with a beautiful round, earning enthusiastic cheers and applause from their middle school peers. 

Seymour and Brooks Middle School’s choral director, Frank Blackman, make visits to all of their feeder elementary schools annually, with the aim to inspire and encourage the elementary choirs. 

“We visit the elementary choirs every year to get them excited about what they can accomplish and how much they can grow if they enroll in the curricular music opportunities at the middle schools,” Seymour said. 

Recognizing students as the experts of their own experiences, interactions like these give them a platform to authentically share their talent, knowledge, and perspective. For fifth-graders, the visits provide a glimpse into sixth grade, and the assurance that they are welcome and will have a place at their middle school next year.