Bell Hill Academy is bringing a group of local performers together for a fundraising concert that will help the school’s students take a trip around the world, without ever leaving the classroom.
The elementary school’s second annual Concert for Global Studies will take place at 7 p.m. today at Grass Valley Charter School, and will feature Grass Valley Taiko led by Mitzi Garnett, Celtic music by Kaeli Horn and friends, Native American drumming by Neena McNair and friends, Australian didgeridoo by Andrew Werderitsch, and Brazilian music and storytelling by Natalia Beatriz Navarro.
Tickets are $20, and are available in advance at Bell Hill Academy and at the Book Seller in Grass Valley, and at the door. One child 12 and younger is free with each paid adult; tickets for additional children 12 and younger are $5.
All of the money raised from the concert will be used to bring local artists, including some of the concert performers, into the classroom to help support the school’s global studies program, in which students explore the history and culture of a different continent each year, said Lori Imel, a second grade global studies teacher at Bell Hill.
Students engage in hands-on projects designed to help bring those global studies lessons to life, Imel said.
For instance, her students recently completed a lesson on Japanese drumming. They might study the food, art or music of a particular continent, drawing on the expertise of an artist or performer who hails from, has spent time in, or has studied a particular culture.
“They can bring the passion because they’ve been there, done that,” Imel said. “The excitement of sharing what they know, what they’ve seen with their own eyes, it’s huge.”
The global studies program at Bell Hill is one of several school programs that was initially funded by a $20,000 Institute for Teaching grant the school received through the California Teachers’ Association.
After that funding ran out, Imel was talking to one of the artists who had visited a Bell Hill classroom. The woman said she would be willing to perform at a fundraising show; many of the other community artists who have visited the school said they would perform, too.
Last year’s concert was held at the Center for the Arts and raised about $1,000, Imel said — and the funding is crucial in enabling students to participate in projects designed to foster a sense of global community.
She said her students are making connections with elementary school students in Japan, and will be videotaping questions to send over to a class there.
Earlier this year, her class studied the plight of elephants in Asia on the brink of extinction; they launched a community petition and a global Facebook plea asking others to pledge not to buy ivory products.
Through the global studies program, students “see what difficulties (people) are having in other places, how we’re alike and how we’re different,” Imel said.
Bringing in local artists and performers enriches those lessons, she said, and allows students to leave Bell Hill academy with an expanded world view.
“By the time you’ve come out of Bell Hill, you have visited every continent and have a better understanding of people and the customs and diversity and embracing that diversity,” Imel said.
To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin,
email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.