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Third-graders lead sing-along

Third grade students from all 15 District 833 elementary schools came together May 13 for the "Great American Sing-A-Long" at East Ridge High School. (Bulletin photo by Amber Kispert)

The entire District 833 elementary community joined in song during the first ever "Great American Sing-A-Long" May 13 at East Ridge High School.

Third-graders from all 15 District 833 elementary schools came together to perform great American folk classics such as, "America," "This Land is Your Land," "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "America the Beautiful" and "When the Saints Go Marching In."

"These are songs that we would like students to know before they go out into the world," Liberty Ridge music teacher Jennifer Fiedor said. "The students were pumped to sing some of the songs they've heard, but didn't know the lyrics to."

The audience was in the spotlight as well since they were encouraged to sing with the students.

"Making music together is a special moment," Fiedor said. "It creates memories for students and their families that they will never forget."

District 833 elementary schools have been using software called "Tune into Reading" that measures how in tune a person is singing -- whether they are too high or too low.

"It's basically like guitar hero for singers," Fiedor said.

In addition to helping students sing in tune, the software has proven to help students in reading.

This year, all District 833 elementary music classes had access to the software and took snapshots of their students at the beginning of the year, and again at the end of the year.

"It helps struggling singers to sing in tune," Royal Oaks music teacher Jeanette Potvin said. "The students figured out how their voice works over the course of the year."

As a celebration of the students' progress, the Great American Sing-A-Long was organized. The top two students, as well as the top two most improved, in each music class were selected to appear on stage during the performance. The rest of the students were encouraged to attend and sing in the audience.

"It's less of a competition and more of a celebration," Potvin said.

Fiedor said District 833 will continue using the software and hosting the Great American Sing-A-Long in future years.

Fiedor said singing is something that everyone should value and the Great American Sing-A-Long is a great way to start that.

"It's an opportunity to bring the kids and the community together to help them realize that anybody can learn to sing," she said. "For the rest of your life there will be music everywhere you go."

For a video of the "Great American Sing-A-Long," go to

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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