GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - About 500 fifth graders in the Gulfport School District put on a free concert Wednesday night. They spent hours rehearsing with an internationally-known music educator. John Jacobson is a composer, choreographer, and writer for a magazine for young musicians.
Once a year, Jacobson comes to Gulfport to work with the fifth grade mass choir, and he really knows how to put on a show.
The students spent Wednesday tuning-up their vocal cords and perfecting their choreography. Once a year, hundreds of fifth graders from seven elementary schools in Gulfport come together for a high energy mass choir practice. They rehearsed under the direction of a special guest conductor, motivational music educator John Jacobson.
"This is an opportunity to bring them all together and you know, we're all in this Gulfport community together and we need to go on through the rest of our lives working together. What better way to do that than making music, singing and dancing together?" asked Jacobson.
Jacobson mixed classic hits with a modern twist on old dance steps. The students worked on familiar dances such as the Alligator, the Monkey, the Jerk, and the Peppermint Twist.
"He's amazing! He's always smiling. He's always energetic," said one girl.
"I like how he comes here each year and that's really awesome. He's never too old to dance," another girl commented.
The students will also perform several of Jacobson's original songs like "Superstar," "This Is the Day," and "Air Guitar."
It was not just a voice-raising, foot-stomping, body-swaying event. It was also about celebrating the arts in school and sharing the joy of music with fifth graders before they launch into middle school.
"It's a traumatic time in life for a lot of reasons. Your body changes a great deal and when you dance, there's an opportunity to feel good about yourself, and to feel for a moment beautiful," said Jacobson.
Jacobson said he gets a lot out of the event.
"You just get all that energy from them and it feeds you and just reaffirms your faith in what good kids really are and what opportunity every kid ought to get. Every kid ought to be involved in the arts at some level in their life, and this age in their life is a great time to discover that."
It was Jacobson's fifth time sharing his musical talents with the Gulfport students.