“The Greatest Show” performing and visual arts extravaganza lived up to its name this week with two stand-out performances that drew hundreds of Spring ISD parents and community members for a celebration of arts integration and student talent.
The show was produced by the Spring ISD Performing and Visual Arts Department, which reached out to students and teachers from across the district to participate, both on stage and behind the scenes, at Spring Baptist Church on E. Louetta.
“Every single student is a story, and we’re going to share that story with you tonight,” said Joe Clark, the district’s director of performing and visual arts, ahead of Monday’s performance.
Using a full orchestra, dancers from every high school, a cast of actors, and musicians from all the middle schools, “The “Greatest Show” tells the story of how arts and music increase student engagement and academic achievement.
Thanks to the commitment of the Spring ISD Board of Trustees, the district has been looking to expand access to arts programs in the schools and explore ways in which creativity supports learning across subject areas. Spring ISD is already known as one of the nation’s “Best Communities for Music Education” and in April was recognized with the title for the sixth consecutive year by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. The national nonprofit celebrates and promotes the value of music education and music-making in schools and local communities.
At Spring Baptist Church this week the spotlight was on the dozens of students in a program that opened up with an arrangement of “A Million Dreams,” a song made famous by the hit movie, “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman.
Jewel Starks said she was thrilled at the chance to see her Northgate Crossing Elementary student on stage with middle and high school students.
“I think it’s awesome they invited the elementary schools into the production,” she said.
One of the goals of arts integration is to create such opportunities so students better understand what’s possible with their arts and music education.
Not all of the showstoppers at the Greatest Show were on stage, however. Visual artists from across the district had their art on display in the church lobby, and the top students by grade and category were recognized in a special ceremony and given gift bags of art supplies.
“It was a little unexpected, but nice,” said Ellen Liao, an 8th-grader at Roberson Middle School whose necklace created from plastic won top honors in the middle school jewelry category.
Other highlights of the event included a student-made photo booth created and constructed by Carl Wunsche Sr. High School students Timothy Nammathao, Alexis Garcia and Jonathan Hernandez. The project highlighted arts integration and was made possible through a collaboration among Career and Technical Education, the Performing and Visual Arts department, and Instructional Technology.
“Their creativity and commitment to the project illustrates the amazing work our students can do,” said Susan Pelezo, director of instructional technology.
Those wanting the best seats had to show up early, as the pews at Spring Baptist Church filled up with family and friends out to enjoy the show.
“It was lovely, wasn’t it?” said Ruth Bowie, who was in the audience supporting her grandson, Kayden, who played flute as a member of the combined orchestra. Bowie said that Kayden, a rising junior at Westfield, had gotten a lot out of his experience in band so far, making friends and finding a supportive community of fellow students and teachers who encourage his own growth.
“He absolutely loves it. He really loves it,” Bowie said. “It’s a certain discipline, too, isn’t it? It’s a team effort. You have to listen. You have to practice. I think it’s really good for him.”