Da Capo Virginia, an organization dedicated to bringing out the best in children through music, brought its VIVO & Friends program tailored for students with special needs to the Magna Vista High School Auditorium for a collaborative concert.
Tracee Prillaman, program director and executive director of Da Capo Virginia, said the program focuses on children in self-contained special education classes. She goes into these classes and teaches the year’s theme to about 70 students while helping them prepare for the concert.
“I go into the county schools, into those classrooms each fall and each spring, and teach a set of material. We do a giant
collaborative concert where we merge all 12 of those classes and partner with other arts organizations to bring a giant collaborative event,” she said.
The program includes a theme that students learn about through the music. This year’s theme was “It’s Electric.” The students use a wide variety of experiences and techniques to have fun and learn while being taught the material.
The ‘It’s Electric’ theme of this year meant students “studied electricity, power, and energy this semester, so everything we do is related to that,” Prillaman said. “They’re going to sing. They’re going to dance. They’re going to do parachute choreography, hula hoop choreography, (and) they’re going to play some
instruments. It’s a wide variety of music experience for them.”
The event also featured the Magna Vista High School Show Choir and the Laurel Park Middle School seventh grade choir.
For their last song, the students danced to “We Are” by Keke Palmer, stressing the importance of relationships between each other and between the professionals who help students through their educational journey.
Although “we’ve talked about electricity, power, and energy today just a bit,” Prillaman said. “we know the most critical power is a relationship with people. Building relationships with people one at a time. And we do that because we are family.
“We may not look like the traditional or typical family, but I can assure you that all of the SPED teachers and paraprofessionals up here are family,” she said. “They are family to your kids each and every day in the classroom.”