Andrew Withers: Lyman Gilmore arts programs offer enrichment during COVID and beyond | TheUnion.com
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Andrew Withers: Lyman Gilmore arts programs offer enrichment during COVID and beyond

The Lyman Gilmore 5th-8th grade band program includes musical opportunities such as concert band, symphonic band, marching band and jazz band.
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The Lyman Gilmore Musical Theater, Band, Arts, and Digital Arts programs have been bright spots for the Grass Valley School District (GVSD) for many school years! Unfortunately when the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, these programs suffered a pause and setback. But now, thanks to the hard work, creativity and dedication of our staff and students, they are back and “The Show Goes On!”

The Lyman Gilmore art programs offerings are high quality and are provided as an embedded elective within the school day. These classes provide students hands-on learning opportunities to create and invent across multiple art mediums.
Provided photo

Our musical theater program is dedicated to providing students with theater arts enrichment through the performing arts. Students are able to enjoy experiences with acting, singing, theatrical movement, performance, teamwork, creative problem solving, initiative and self-esteem.

“Even when we were apart, the Musical Theater Program has offered students social-emotional support and a creative outlet that they have so desperately needed during this pandemic,” said teacher Becky Browning. “Besides the classwork and virtual performances students have engaged in throughout the year, students also participated in the CETA Middle Stage Fest and performed songs and monologues virtually for a panel of judges. Gilmore brought home multiple silver and gold awards!”



Our traditional Lyman Gilmore 5th-8th grade band program is another show-stopper. It includes musical opportunities such as, concert band, symphonic band, marching band and jazz band.

“The Gilmore Band students are so excited to be back working together, getting familiar with favorite tunes, past routines and most of all, each other,“ said teacher John Frantz. ”The looks of happiness on their faces, when they hear all of the parts working together, for the first time in over a year, is priceless. The Lyman Gilmore Band is alive again and rebuilding the foundation for the future. The past year has been very difficult for band students all over the world. A band is built through interaction, cooperation and teamwork, all of which are difficult to achieve when you can’t be working together in person.“



The Lyman Gilmore art programs offerings are high quality and are provided as an embedded elective within the school day. These classes provide students hands-on learning opportunities to create and invent across multiple art mediums.

One of our 6th grade art students, Elijah Poppin, reported, “I have really enjoyed having art. When I do art I kind of zone out and I’m happy. I get to do what I want. My favorite thing is to look at a picture and draw it.”

Lyman Gilmore also offers digital arts programs which are highlighted by the work of the Gilmore News Network (GNN). GNN is a weekly news program continuously running since 2002. It began as a way to showcase the projects done in the digital arts program. Through the years it has become a live program that teaches students the basics of news production, using Wirecast from Telestream, studio cameras, microphones, and teleprompters. Students have different roles for each show that range from director, production assistant, audio, and floor manager. The digital arts program also produces the yearbook called Contrail, since Gilmore’s opening in 1968. Through other digital arts classes students learn to code, create their own games, animation, camera work and video production, graphic design, they discover the planets through Google Earth, and learn digital safety. Our digital arts program has been supported by Grass Valley Rotary Club, Telestream, Dan Castles, B & C, Best Buy, and supportive parents and community members.

GVSD values all forms of the arts and we believe programs like these are essential. The arts are what keep our students engaged and ready for high school and beyond. While the majority of our work has been virtual or in small groups this year, students have continued to thrive and find new ways to practice and share their skills. We currently have three student musical theater performances that are ready for everyone to enjoy; Monster Anonymous, The Fairy Tale Game Show, and Night Crew. They are each about 10-15 minutes in length and feature 6th-8th grade students. We encourage everyone to view them and are also accepting donations so we can continue to support our program needs. Our district band program is not performing yet however they can be heard practicing daily as they work together just outside of our school gym.

Andrew Withers is the Grass Valley School District Superintendent.


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