SAN GABRIEL, CA – More than 200 parents, students and community members cheered as Roosevelt Elementary second- and third-grade dance students showed off their moves to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” and clapped as rock band students jammed to The Beatles’ “Come Together,” complete with a guitar solo.

These energetic performances were highlights of the school’s third annual Music Immersion Experience (MIE) Unity Fest, which transformed the quiet San Gabriel Library into a music festival on April 28.

“I like music because it makes me confident and it helps me learn,” said third-grader Maybellie Mendez, who performed a piano solo and Orff percussion piece. “It made me happy to perform because I love to play music and want to do it as much as I can.”

MIE coordinator Samantha Theisen and staff created the MIE Unity Fest as a way to celebrate the importance of music with the community and highlight the program’s musical elective courses, including handbell choir, ukulele, show choir, Orff percussion, camerata, guitar, drumline and Mariachi band.

“Music has the power to bring people together, and we wanted to give our community a reason to come together and celebrate,” Theisen said. “Our students work hard every day to become better musicians, and we are excited we could share their talent and joy for music with the public.”

Formed in 2015, the MIE program enhances overall student learning and achievement through music education. All students receive fundamental music lessons daily, and second- through fifth-grade students can also sign up for three additional elective courses that meet one to three times a week.

“Music is a vital part of our students’ well rounded educational experience and we are thrilled to see our students thriving in the MIE program,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “Thank you to Roosevelt teachers, staff and parents for providing their students the opportunity to explore and celebrate their musical talents.”


050118_SANGAB_MIE_UNITYFEST1: Roosevelt Elementary second- and third-grade students showcase their dance skills during the third annual Music Immersion Experience Unity Fest on April 28.

050118_SANGAB_MIE_UNITYFEST2: Two Roosevelt Elementary students represent the school’s new drumline elective, one of a dozen highlighted at the MIE Unity Fest on April 28.