A 'sweet treat'
Sells plans Halloween concert for special need students
Tricks, treats and music will be offered at a Halloween concert for special needs elementary students Oct. 30.
Sells Middle School orchestra teacher LaShell Ramsey Dauterman said the concert is being offered for the first time to give special needs students a pleasant Halloween experience.
"I teach orchestra here at Sells and I have a stepson who is severely autistic. In the process of taking him out for trick or treat the past few years, I've thought of the challenge parents face," she said.
Dauterman also worked with a wheelchair-bound student for a few years and found out she never had much Halloween fun.
"I got this idea of doing a service project with orchestra students ... to give (special need students) a safer, calmer environment to have a Halloween experience," she said.
The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the gym of Indian Run Elementary School, 80 W. Bridge St.
Work on the concert has been going on for a few months.
"We started working at the beginning of the school year on the music," Dauterman said, "but the kids have the music over the summer and can work on it."
Halloween-themed music -- such as Curse of the Rosin Eating Zombie, Hairy the Spider and Creatures -- is on the playlist along with a few traditional orchestra pieces.
Other activities will also be offered.
"We would like to encourage students to come in costume," Dauterman said.
"We'll have a costume parade, best costume contest. The eighth-graders and I have come up with some ideas for sensory activities like touching brains and gooey stuff.
"It's modified activities you would find in a traditional Halloween environment."
Modified activities are often blended into Dauterman's classroom to get special needs students involved.
For example, when a student couldn't use the left hand traditionally used for playing, strings on a violin were flipped and the instrument was fixed to a table to allow the student to play. "It's kind of my way of bringing in modifications to class so they can be part of orchestra," Dauterman said.
The concert could become an annual event if funding remains for the orchestra program.
"If the levy doesn't pass there's no more strings program," Dauterman said.
"I'm hoping we can be successful with the levy issue. I would love to do this every year I'm in the district."
The concert is aiming to get special need students from Indian Run, Bailey, Wright and Thomas elementary schools, which are feeder schools to Sells Middle School.
Dauterman said, however, special needs elementary students from throughout the district are welcome.
"Really any elementary school in the district with special needs students, if their families want to come, they're more than welcome to," she said.
"I just wanted to do something for this population of students to give them a Halloween experience."