Summer Performing Arts program offers a full range of activities for students of all ages and abilities – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – Opportunities abound this summer for kids who want to develop their theatrical and musical abilities, but – and probably most importantly – want to have fun.

The Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA), a program of Grand Forks Public Schools, offers activities for students who have completed kindergarten through 11th grade.

SPA’s mission is to educate students of all ages and abilities, foster their creativity, and develop their character in a safe, supportive, and respectful learning environment.

About 70 teachers and volunteers will be involved with the SPA this summer, said Allison Peterson, director of the SPA.

High quality arts education is provided in instrumental music, vocal music, dance, drama and visual arts. Programming is designed to meet the needs of all students who wish to participate, rather than limiting opportunities and enrollment.

The annual “My SPA” program will be offered to children with special needs in July at Grand Forks Central High School.

Singing lessons for middle and high school students will be offered as well as instrument lessons, the schedule of which will vary according to the age group.

A pre-K SPA program is scheduled to be offered from June 20 to July 1 at Red River High School.

Basic SPA activities run from June 6 to July 22 at various locations.

Middle School SPA is scheduled for June 6-28, with performances scheduled for June 28-29 at South Middle School.

Each year, high school students enrolled in the Summer Performing Arts program present stage productions for the enjoyment of friends, family and the general public.

Photo courtesy of Allison Peterson, Grand Forks Public Schools

High school students can audition at 4 p.m. May 11 at Red River High School for productions that will be presented July 13-17 by eighth and ninth graders and July 22-26 by 10th and of 11th grade. The names of the shows will be announced as soon as the rights are obtained from the royalty companies, a process that is ongoing, Peterson said.

Bands on the Red activities, for students in grades 6-11 this fall, run June 6-22. The performances of these group members are scheduled for June 23. The group teachers on the reds are Sarah Harlow, group teacher at Central High School, and Brady Olson, group teacher at Schroeder Middle School.

Students enrolled in the Bands on the Red program further develop their instrumental skills during their SPA experience. Grand Forks Public School music teachers Sarah Harlow and Brady Olson will lead the sessions this summer.

Photo courtesy of Allison Peterson, Grand Forks Public Schools

Typically, more than 800 students attend SPA programs each summer, Peterson said.

The emphasis in SPA is to promote good citizenship and educate students to be good stewards of the community and give them skills they will use throughout their lives, such as teamwork, cooperation, conflict resolution, tolerance and good character.

Parents praised program staff members for creating a “family” atmosphere in which children can build confidence, discover and hone their talents, and make new friends.

“Our girls (have developed) skills like learning to work together and being there for your cast mates whether you get a big role or a supporting role,” wrote SPA parent Jennifer Dodds in a post. testimonial for SPA website.

Dave and Jen Berger, SPA parents, wrote: “Experiences like this teach communication, time management, commitment, problem solving, cooperation, motivation and empathy.

The Shepherds praised the SPA staff members “for expecting nothing less than a great job and making room for all students to be their best and most authentic as they learn, grow and shine.

Students learn movement, voice projection, blocking, and other staging techniques while participating in the annual SPA programs offered by Grand Forks Public Schools. This summer, approximately 70 teachers and volunteers will be involved in the SPA programs.

Photo courtesy of Allison Peterson, Grand Forks Public Schools

Due to the COVID pandemic, the SPA has been canceled in 2020, Peterson said. It was offered “almost normally” in 2021, although capacity restrictions have significantly limited attendance at public performances.

The cast for each high school show was about 60 people, and due to demand for tickets from family and friends, “we were at capacity and didn’t have room for the general public,” he said. she declared. “We are still hitting district-allowed capacity each night.”

At this time there are no capacity limits and no COVID restrictions in place. Masks are recommended, not required, in schools.

Registration for the SPA, which usually takes place in March, has been delayed this year due to some uncertainty regarding program sites. It is expected to open in April, pending school board approval, Peterson said. Those wishing to register should visit the SPA website,, for information on program locations and fees.

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