This 3rd Grade Teacher Is Inspiring Students With An Annual Motown Fundraiser
The good folks of Hitsville, USA would be proud.
March 17, 2017 at 3:56 pm
Growing up, we always have those teachers that make an impact on our lives with the smallest gestures. They make up hip to everything from hardcore history facts to everyday life lessons that you may not learn at home.
One Third-grade teacher at Baldwin Hills Elementary in Los Angeles, California, is making an everlasting impact on her students through the art of music. Each year, Malinda Williams gathers students in different grade levels to pay tribute to hits of the 60s and 70s with through creative costumes and stellar choreography. Through these performances, Williams and the Baldwin Hills students have raised thousands of dollars for arts education and have gained Internet fame.
“Motown music and old school R&B music were consistently played in my house growing up. I fell in love with it,” Williams shared with The Huffington Post. “Once I became an educator, I felt compelled to share what I learned growing up with my students.”
This annual "Sounds of Motown" show is something near and dear Mrs. Williams holds close to her heart. During her interview with Baldwin Hills Elementary years ago, she was asked, ‘Besides teaching, what else could you offer our students?’ Her response was dance. Growing up, her dance background never peeked beyond classes in middle and high school but she's gone on to channel that passion throughout her daily life and in how she teaches her kids. Besides the annual "Sounds of Motown" show, Malinda William's one of a kind choreography can be found during Baldwin Hills Elementary holiday performances, Black History Month programs, and multicultural events. It was at one Black History Month program where a group of boys danced to "My Girl" by The Temptations that sparked the idea for a full Motown show.
“I wanted them to know about a time when music could be enjoyed amongst grandparents, parents, and children alike,” she explained. “The lyrics are clean for the most part, and the music is that of quality. Actual people played the instruments, and the singers were naturally talented. Technology was not heavily relied upon.”
Unfortunately, shortly after that performance, budget cuts shook up the arts department and almost cost the music teacher a job. An advocate of the arts, Mrs. William was determined to raise the money needed to keep the teacher around, thus the Motown revue fundraiser was born. The kids have danced to The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
Besides thousands of views on YouTube, these talented students have gained attention from a few celebrities over the years. After catching wind of the Temptations performance, Berry Gordy, Motown Records founder, reached out to have them perform at a family fundraiser. Gordy attended the event and it was a special memory for all those involved.
The year when Mrs. Williams decided to scale back on Motown but pay tribute to New Edition, the video went viral. It caught the attention of New Edition's manager who invited the boys to perform with the group at a live concert.
It caught the attention of New Edition's manager who invited the boys to perform with the group at a live concert.
The Motown shows have helped these students learn about music history, dance, performances, backstage etiquette, stage presence, self-confidence and so much more that they would miss out on if the arts department was cut. The kids have learned about themselves and witnessed the impact their work has had on others.
“They have brought smiles on faces of people that they will never see,” said Williams. “So when people see my students dancing, and comment with such positive feedback, I feel honored and proud. I want them to have a brief escape from whatever troubles they may be facing.”