The elementary students at the Gateway summer enrichment arts camp will demonstrate their talents at a showcase finale at Kennedy Middle School today at 7 p.m.


Open to the public, the program will include dance, vocals, instrumentals, drama, visual art and much of it in combination.


“It's fun going to all the classes,” said Alia Harrison, a Hammond Hill Elementary School student enjoying her third summer at Gateway. “There are so many music classes, and they have helped me improve with all the different instruments,” Alia said. “I really like guitar, and we have really good teachers who are helping us.”


Music teachers Denise Lockhart, Steve Cheeks and Sonya Terry have worked with other teachers on the showcase. The musical program will be located in the school gym. The visual arts will be on display in the nearby library, but some of that student work will play a role in the musical performances.


“This year, we took a really collaborative approach with big American popular music,” Lockhart said.


The selections will delight people of all ages, including those from an earlier generation. The elementary students will perform “Hound Dog,” just as Elvis Presley did in 1956. Another piece is Count Basie's “Jumping at the Woodside,” and a Duke Ellington classic – “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing).”


Lockhart has been working with students on Orff instruments, which include “boomwackers.”


They also have learned “12-Bar Blues,” an engaging series of chord progressions.


“This has been very uplifting for me as a teacher for 20 years and for five years with Gateway,” Lockhart said. “It's great for us to work with these students and give them a deeper experience.”


Gateway also provides arts opportunities for middle and high school students. The middle and high schoolers' work in music, drama and visual arts will be showcased at the school on Thursday, June 11, at 7 p.m.