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Students to host a holiday concert Thursday at Aspen Elementary

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By Kirsten Laskey

Aspen Elementary School students are an active part of the creative process in their winter concert; they are not just performers, they are also choreographers and composers.Students’ artistic vision will take the limelight during a winter concert at 6 p.m. Thursday in the elementary school gymnasium.First- and second-graders will perform and the audience will see the premiere of the Aspen Tiger Choir, music teacher Paula Ward said.The concert will include a dance to the song, “Feliz Navidad,” and playing instruments to holiday carols.Students did not just show up to rehearsals and start signing and dancing; “they created the show themselves,” Ward said.She explained students created the instruments and movements for the concert. She added, “They have a lot of ownership in what they’re doing and it also helps them think creatively.”Additionally, members of the school choir also showed artistic direction. The choir, made of fourth- and sixth-graders, “are very dedicated,” Ward said. They meet at 7 a.m. every Friday, Ward said.It was the students’ idea to form a choir. “The kids have been asking me for years for a choir; they really wanted this,” she said.The students’ drive impressed Ward. “I love their excitement at performing something they created and how proud they are to show it to their parents,” she said.The benefits of being involved in the arts go beyond just impressing the audience. Ward said brain research has shown children do better in tests and in math if they take music classes.Also, Ward said she is thankful for the support she has received from Aspen principal Meg Peterson, teachers and parents.More support for the concert was provided through a fine arts grant, which provided money for costumes. Assistant Superintendent Mary Mcleod wrote the grant.