By Darren Lum
Published April 13 2017
Earlier this month local students were singing loudly and proudly sharing their legacy with their peers.
Fifty Archie Stouffer Elementary School students from Grades 2 to 8 collaborated with Newburgh-based musician David Archibald in producing The Leader in Me and the Archie Stouffer songs culminating in a performance of the songs on March 27 to peers in the primary grade entrance. They were chosen for their love of music to participate in the enrichment program for the Artists in the School program.
ASES principal Jane Austin said this is a “legacy piece for these kids.”
She saw this relationship as a way to give her students a chance to work with other peers under unique circumstances. It not only brings professional talent to the school which is affordable to everyone but enriches the learning experience.
“When we partner with programs like Artists in the Schools it’s just an amazing way to enrich a student’s school experience. So I’m all for it whenever we can get those kinds of opportunities” she said.
She adds there is a sophistication and depth to the songs as they include choruses bridges and harmonies.
Archibald said The Leader in Me song which is based on a schoolwide initiative takes listeners on a musical journey highlighting the school’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders such as being proactive beginning with the end in mind and putting first things first.
“The kids had a terrific grasp of these concepts and we were able to turn a wealth of brainstorming ideas into a song by noon on day one” he wrote in an email.
The other song Archie Stouffer was focused on highlighting the positive aspects of the school.
It prompted a strong response from the students he adds.
“There was no shortage of ideas for this one — including tributes to such famous Archie Stouffer student-driven organizations as the Garbage Club and the Snow-Shovelling Club. Due to time constraints these clubs didn’t make it into the song but the end result was a charming tribute to a well-loved school” he said.
He will now create full arrangements of the songs – drums bass etc. and send the music files back to the school for use on websites slideshows and more.
The students worked two days towards the completion of the songs.
The first day the students worked on the songs in the school. Archibald took the lyrics and added music. By the second day the students practised it recorded it and then performed for the school and faculty in the primary wing of the school. Archibald will finalize the songs with some editing and production layering it with back tracks and send the final version back to the school.
With visual arts already being taught through an outreach effort the school’s principal believed this learning opportunity was the “music piece” of the diverse offering the school has provided this year which most recently also included sessions on learning to break dance.
Archibald’s work at the school is supported by the Arts Council – Haliburton Highlands. Around the county Archibald is a familiar face from his many musical appearances at events whether it was at schools in the area the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion or at various holiday themed shows. He adds this program has won awards from the Ontario Heritage Foundation.
ASES music teacher Natalia Salvatori who shared a similar sentiment to Archibald appreciated the way the learning experience encouraged some students to really come through and show their creative brilliance.
“There were a few students in each group who had written songs before but the majority had never had experience with creating lyrics and putting them to music. It gave students who don’t always get to showcase their singing talent a chance to do so and it let some students shine who might not normally do so if they had been with a larger group” she said.