Music Teacher /Creative Director, Katie Bart, helps Burleigh Students to “Shine Your Way”
In a time where many school districts are eliminating the “non-essentials” of education like Music and the Arts, Elmbrook Schools are fortunate to continue to offer students opportunities that go beyond the classroom and the “three R’s.” Mrs. Katie Bart, Music teacher and Creative Director for Burleigh Elementary’s Musical program, plays an integral part in making sure Brookfield’s youngest residents are exposed to what she calls, “the sense of wonder and magic that being on stage and performing with their friends” can add to children’s lives.
From the time she attended St. Olaf College, Katie Bart has been a musician and a “creator.” She wrote a choral musical version of the Irish Blessing while still a student, entitled, “The Blessing,” and it is still performed all over the world today. She has also contributed to the creation of school music education programs like ACE (Arts in Community Education) a collaboration between the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, schools and local musicians. ACE integrates music and the arts into the core curriculum. Katie is not just your average music teacher. “She is a treasure – and one Burleigh is lucky to have,” glows Lynn Preston, former colleague from Swallow Elementary in Hartland where Bart shared her gifts for seventeen years before joining the Burleigh team.
Her crowning glory, however, is the children’s Musical Review production that she heads every other year for the last sixteen years now. Bart has lead the Burleigh fourth and fifth graders in the creation and performance of musical shows that she personally writes, choreographs and directs with an amazing unpaid “support staff” of volunteers who give tremendous amounts of their time and talent. Bart has a passion for the performing arts that is infectious and inspiring. Her own family members contribute to her labor of love as well. After moving out of state recently, her daughter and son-in-law submitted video-recorded dance steps and suggestions for this year’s performance. Former Burleigh principal, Bill Zahn, confessed that while happily retired now, he misses “the spirit Katie brings to every musical and watching everyone work for the common purpose of the kids’ success.” Many volunteers remain with Bart and her musicals long after their own children have “graduated” because of the pleasure they receive watching children blossom on stage. The connection between finding one’s voice on stage, in the classroom and in life is the beautiful discovery that Bart’s performers make year after year.
These impressively polished productions are performed for fellow students, parents and community members at Brookfield’s Sharon Lynne Wilson Center. This March, Bart’s Burleigh students will perform, “Shine Your Way.” Her inspirational musical demonstrates how being unique allows each individual to shine in their own way and showcases the talents of over 200 Burleigh Elementary cast and crew members. Tickets are currently available for performances March 26-28th through the SLW Center Box office 262-781-9520 or www.wilson-center.com (Seniors and Students are just $6.00 and Adults $9.00.)
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