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Singing teachers at GRPS hitting all the right notes

Posted at 9:55 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 22:35:49-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Educators at Grand Rapids Public Schools are taking their love of singing to a new level.

“Staff Notes” was formed in 2018, comprised of administrators and current and former GRPS teachers. The group has performed at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, and has even opened for the Grand Rapids Symphony.

"We decided that we wanted to do more and to be more and for me personally it's been a really joy," said Maggie Malone, the fine arts director at GRPS. "We're all in this business because we love kids and two, we love music and so to be able to connect with those two loves ... and give back to the community in another way and connect to as colleagues and professionals. And we've kind of become like a little Staff Note family and it's been great."

The group is passionate about the arts and sharing music education with students. They say skills like being able to read music, performing in front of their peers, and understanding how music is put together, all contribute to a well-rounded education.

"We have kids that have a really hard time in general education classes and just sometimes in life in general, but a lot of times they come to choir and it's like a different kid," said Rosie Cusack, a choir and musical theatre teacher at Riverside Middle School.

Members of Staff Notes say they're grateful for the impact their music is having on students and the community.

They hope to be able to showcase their talents on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" one day.

"In five years, I see this group really growing," choir teacher Kimberly Jarnegen said. "Because we are professionals, and we love what we do and we're musicians it would be a great opportunity for our students to see that you know, hey, we are growing and our teachers are doing something that they love."

Staff Notes is busy preparing for a Black History Concert on Feb. 25. The event is being held at The Listening Room at Studio C in downtown Grand Rapids.

They are also planning to head into the studio soon to make a holiday album, set to be released in December 2020.