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Local 5th Graders from the Community School of Davidson Seize a Unique “Opera-Tunity”

by | Mar 23, 2023

At the end of this month, four classes of 5th Graders at the Community School of Davidson will be putting on a student performance based on Joyce Moyer Hoffstetter’s novel, Blue. This performance is the culmination of an integrated yearlong study of written expression, puppeteering, musical composition, and historical fiction.

CSD 5th graders at work on scenery

Students at CSD are taught according to the Basic School Model which has a heavy emphasis on integrating the arts within the core disciplines. For this opera, students read the novel, Blue, and did an intensive author study of the novel’s author, Joyce Moyer Hofstetter. Additionally, through an Arts in Residence Grant awarded by the North Carolina Arts Council, students were given the opportunity to work with puppeteer, Tarish Pipkins, a.k.a. Jeghetto, to weave the art of puppetry into their performance.

High School student composer, Anna Liz Turner, wrote the music to accompany lyrics and melodies written by each of the 5th grade classes. A CSD 5th grade teacher stated, “This project has been so much more than a novel study. Our students have gained intimate knowledge of the themes and issues in Blue through cross-curricular study. The Opera process has been an enriching learning experience, and our 5th graders have astonished us in their engagement, teamwork, and thoughtfulness!”

When asked about their experience, one fifth grade student reported, “It’s been an interesting, difficult, yet fun experience that has brought our classes closer

Students working with their puppets

together. It’s helped us discover our talents and face our fears. It was such an awesome and moving “opera”-tunity to get to meet and learn from Joyce Hostetter, the author of Blue!”

Performances will be held on at the Lower School Campus of the Community School of Davidson on the following dates:

Wednesday, March 29 @ 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, March 30 @ 9:30 a.m.

Friday, March 31 @ 9:30 a.m.

Composing an original opera is a longstanding tradition for 5th Graders at the Community School of Davidson, and we are extremely proud of the collective efforts of our staff, students, and the guest artists involved. This type of learning exemplifies the Basic School Model of Education, and we are delighted to see this production come to life after many months in the making.


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