Gautier school keeps music alive with unique strings program

PASCAGOULA, MS WLOX – They have never performed beyond the walls of their school. And they have only been playing for about six months. On Tuesday, members of the Gautier Elementary Gator Strings Class showcased their musical talents before the Pascagoula Kiwanis Club.”These kids have really, really worked hard.  And some of these kids have never seen a violin, or viola, or cello, or bass, much less be able to play one,” said their teacher Russell Sample.Sample had dreamed of starting a strings program at the school.  Last year, a parent donated the first violin.Then came news that was music to his ears. The principal used a $15,000 federal grant to purchase 20 more instruments, along with music stands and books. That allowed all 120 students from the second through fifth grades to take a strings class once a week.”Ive seen the miracle happen,” said Sample. “You take kids that are troubled and cant study good and have problems focusing, and this focuses them. Ive only been doing this, not only a year yet, we have seen their grades go up.””It soothes me and its fun,” said fourth grader Blessteva Johnson.When asked why she enjoys the class, Blessteva said: “Because it would be really exciting to learn how to play something that youve wanted to play for a long time.””I like it. It is very fun, entertaining for people who are listening and for people who are playing,” said third grader Nicholas Jensen.Not every student will hit all the right notes, but for many, this rare opportunity is pitch perfect.”Some of these kids are going to go to college on scholarship with music. I can tell already,” said Sample.Next year, the program may be limited to students who keep up their grades and have good behavior.

via Gautier school keeps music alive with unique strings program – WLOX-TV and WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi.

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