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September 2, 2014, 8:01 am

GAMP fuses arts, personal growth

Four actors from the Walnut Street Theatre came to perform an anti-bullying play for middle school students at GAMP on Oct. 3. Students sat in their seats in the auditorium and at times could be seen laughing and talking among themselves about what took place on stage. While the play entertained the students for about an hour, it was the message that Principal Jack Carr hoped his students took away from the performance.

“It was imperative for us to get the message about bullying out to our students,” Carr said. “It’s an issue that is going on a lot in today’s society. There are a lot of kids who have been tormented in their middle and high school years because of bullying. Susan Goodman has a program for anti-bullying and we’re going to bring that to our school. Hopefully, other middle school students will be able to see that program in our theater in October and November of this year.”

Walnut Street Theatre coming to perform for the students is the latest event that GAMP was a part of. For years, the school has given its students experiences in both music and theater.

GAMP’s concert choir has performed nationally. Notable performances in the past have included singing for President Bill Clinton and Governor Ed Rendell. The choir performed with Peter Nero and Philly Pops and has appeared regularly at the Kimmel Center and other professional venues, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists, and Singing City Community Choir. In theater, the school has done productions in “Rent,” “Hairspray” and the “Sound of Music.”

“This year, our students have sung at that the Liberty Medal award ceremony at the National Constitution Center,” he said. “That ceremony honored boxing legend Muhammad Ali. We have a wonderful association with various artists, the Mann music center and the Kimmel Center. We also work with a number of outside agencies.”

Carr believes that through the music and theater programs at GAMP, his students will grow musically and personally.

“The experience the students receive at GAMP is endless,” he said. “My students work hard in everything that they do and it’s rewarding to see them achieve. Through music and theater they have learned how to cooperate with one another as well as other organizations, how to problem solve, and how to enhance their productivity. For many of our students, music is the catalyst for their learning while they’re here, but they have gone on and succeeded in other fields outside of the arts. Our goal has always been to prepare them for the collegiate experience.”