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Music in the Park

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Christina Stock Photo At last year's Celebrate the Arts Day of the Roswell Independent School District Arts Connect program, children participated at the music station. This year, the place to be for the young artists and their fans is at the Chaves County Courthouse lawn for live performances.

Arts Connect presents its first district-wide event at the Chaves County Courthouse

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

Arts Connect, the Roswell Independent School District at the Creative Learning Center art program, presents its first district-wide Music in the Park event, which takes place at the Chaves County Courthouse lawn on Main Street, on May 21 at 6 p.m.

All RISD third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students have worked hard with their teachers to present a fun evening with performances, music and entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

Abie Smith, Arts Connect principal at the RISD Creative Learning Center, is a little bit nervous about the event. “This is going to be our first year, so please bear with us,” she said. “We want students to have a chance to perform — this is part of our national core standards — to have that opportunity. They learn so much throughout the year that we want them to show their parents.”

The youngest ones will be doing something very special. “We were especially concerned with our third-graders, that is why Miss (Amber) Miramontes had the great idea of bringing in puppets, thinking they will be more worried about how their puppets will be doing than seeing the audience — and there might even be a little protection there,” Smith said. “Going along with our New Mexico theme, the story will have facts of New Mexico and they will sing ‘O Fair New Mexico’ (The state song of New Mexico, “O Fair New Mexico” was written by Sheriff Pat Garrett’s daughter, Elizabeth Garrett. The song was adopted as New Mexico’s state song in 1917) and then they also have a dance to the song ‘The Champion,’ which our superintendent brought forward at the beginning of the school year. We played a part of a video that she had put together, that is carrying forward to these kids, as well. ‘The Champion’ is a song that my third-grade teacher, Miss Miramontes, did with the students just before testing, just to boost them, let them know that they are so capable, that they worked really hard all year. And that they can be the champions over the academics.

“Our fourth grade is going to be doing some dancing with rhythm sticks and our fifth-graders are going to do the recorder concert,” Smith said. “The teachers have done a lot of processing of that.

“Our fourth-graders — it’s a good age — they like to show what they can do,” Smith said. “The music that Miss (Kristin) Higginbotham has for them is just very vibrant and upbeat and is Miss Higginbotham. She has so much energy and doesn’t let the kids worry because she gets right in and does it with them.

“Our fifth-graders have always excelled in the recorder concert since Miss Rhonda Pharis took it over. They practice every week — our fifth-grade program has been a little bit different, where it is all recorders for a semester at six schools. They see her every week and she really builds their confidence and they earn belts for their recorders,” Smith said.

“We are going to see how that goes since this is our first trial run. And it is a challenge because we don’t know how many kids will show up. We’ve got invites out to every third, fourth and fifth grader and we’ve hung things in the schools. We just don’t know what will happen,” Smith said.

According to Smith, there will be water and Arts Connect merchandise available as a fundraiser. “The fundraising goes all back into things like when we have the airport gallery; we have that catered. We use money for the families for that. Also, now that we have the gallery in our school board room, we’re going to have a gallery at the beginning of the year and will cater that,” she said.

The family, friends and public are invited to see the performance and to bring blankets or lawn chairs.

For more information, call 575-637-3301.