Local remembered through school dedicated to art and music
Published 10:00 am Saturday, June 18, 2016
By Henry Rohlf
Dozens of children gathered last week and will again this week at First Lutheran Church for a school of music dedicated to music and art education.
The First Lutheran Church Jessica Lokken School of Music takes children between the ages of 5 and 18, aiming to increase their knowledge and ability of both music and art.
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Currently in its second year, the Jessica Lokken School of Music is hosting 110 children between the ages of 5 and 18, where they are split into age groups, according to Tim O’Shields — First Lutheran’s minister of music and worship.
Over the course of the two weeks, children will learn how to sing in an ensemble and play percussion, harp and handbells.
However, it is not just music they will learn about, but also art. O’Shields said children will learn about water colors, collage art and acrylics.
“The school is set up to help the kids get musical and art opportunity they might not otherwise get,” O’Shields said. “And free of charge.”
Co-sponsor of the school Julie Lokken said that by receiving this gift of music and art, they could one day go on to teach others what they learn, extending the gift and opportunity even further.
The school of music is dedicated in memory of Julie Lokken’s daughter, Jessica Lokken, who passed away in 2014.
“This school of music will help carry on her memory for generations,” O’Shields said.
Each day at the school starts out as a big group in the sanctuary to create a spiritual tone for the day, O’Shields said.
Following the large group are the music and art sessions, where children rotate through each musical activity as well as get a chance to bring out their artistic side.
O’Shields described the chorus as the backbone of what the school of music is all about and, the small groups meet twice a day to practice singing as a chorus, compared to just once for everything else.
The biggest positive of this school, according to O’Shields, is that it is not just any teacher instructing children, but rather accredited teachers really improving the skills of the children day by day.
“These are professionals that love to work with kids,” he said.
However, being in the second year of the school brings change, O’Shields added.
“We are starting to give the kids leadership opportunities each day,” he said. “We really want to achieve excellence, and this gives them an opportunity to grow.”
Scheduled at the end of the school is a performance free to the public that includes the handbell choirs, the harp groups and percussion group, as well as the chorus. Every piece of art that was created during the two weeks will also be displayed.
The performance is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We invite everyone to see what these kids have done,” O’Shields said. “Which is a lot!”