SaysJingle Bells are ringing in San Diego classrooms, thanks to parents at Bird Rock Elementary, leaders at San Diego's VAPA Foundation, funders through DonorsChoose.org, and local contributors Bruce and Elaine Robbins, the Rice Foundation and The Paula B. Jones Foundation! This fall, when teachers Lorraine Turner and Carol Shear returned to their classrooms after taking GITC summer intensives, the halls were alive with the sound of music! These inspirational teachers decided to make hands-on learning with ukuleles a big part of their rooms this year. Thankfully, parents Valerie Zatt and Nicole Simpson-Galligan heard these teachers' passion for sharing the music. Knowing that the school budget was tight, these two got on board to connect with more parents, and collectively they raised the funds to purchase large sets of lovely Tanglewood ukes with color-coded Aquila Corde Kids Strings, and now the students in both classes are strumming and singing to learn each day! Says Lorraine...
The students are loving the ukuleles. Last Monday, I was formally observed on a VAPA lesson using body percussion with tempo and rhythm and ukuleles using call and response singing. I was quite nervous being so new to the instruments, but at my debrief of the lesson our administrator was quite impressed! And I have noticed my students are very attentive and focused during strumming. They look forward to making music together. Especially in the afternoons, playing ukes creates a gradual calm in behavior because each child can be successful and feel creative while strumming simple patterns and rhythms.
~ Lorraine Turner
At the same time, teachers Mary Jennings-Mull at Fletcher Elementary and Judy Johnson at Johnson Elementary were writing successful grant applications to San Diego Unified's VAPA Foundation to request instrument support for their students. Their wishes were granted and ukuleles are in hand. And over at Paradise Hills and Jefferson Elementary Schools, educators in our Learning through the Arts residency programs were posting projects on donorschoose.org, requesting more ukuleles for their students!
Throughout San Diego this month, hundreds of young students have been singing and strumming to celebrate and learn through music. We can do that when everybody pitches in. If you wish to support this community effort with a year-end donation, it's as easy as visiting our DONATE page and selecting a focus for your gift. Then more children can learn how to sing and play as part of their regular school day and folks in San Diego are leading the way. GITC's newest helper, Terry Carter, has even started a matching campaign for his online uke students and others.
All of us are immensely grateful to the three companies that help make ukulele a strong part of what students experience in our programs now. They are Kala Brand Music, Korg USA and Saga Musical Instruments! Please visit our Sponsors page just to see all the fabulous companies that are bringing music into American Grass Roots through our charity this school year.