Choir from Small Charter School in Fraser Near Top to Appear on ‘Glee’

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(Courtesy of The Macomb Daily)

Arts Academy in the Woods looks for community support in online contest

The Arts Academy in the Woods is proof that a small choir can have a big voice.

Although facing much larger schools operating on bigger budgets, a video featuring the Arts Academy choir is running neck-and-neck with its top competition in this year’s Glee Give a Note Contest.

Choral director Kristina Vidal could not be prouder of what her choir has achieved in a matter of weeks.

“A lot of the members were seniors who graduated last year, so this is a whole new group,” Vidal said. “Their flexibility and what they can do — they sing classical, jazz, pop. They’re up for anything and for them to just drop everything for two weeks and dedicate themselves to this project … it’s inspiring.”

There are two days left to cast your ballot and the choir was just a few hundred votes out of first place as of Friday.

In support of their choir and their own dreams, students at the 10-year-old charter school in Fraser, which has less than 300 enrollees, decorated the walls, inside and out. On any given day, you’ll find young performers practicing in the halls, gymnasium and even outside on the sidewalk. Administrators liken their school to the set of “Fame” rather than the Michigan merit curriculum high school that it is.

The Glee Give A Note contest is sponsored by Fox television and the creator of the popular television series “Glee,” Ryan Murphy, along with the National Association for Music Education, whose mission is to give at-risk music programs the chance to get a much-needed boost when it comes to dealing with budget reductions. By visiting the Glee Give A Note website, people can vote for their favorite music program. The contest is awarding a total of $1 million to music programs in the form of 73 different prizes, consisting of three $50,000 grand prizes, 10 $25,000 first prizes and 60 $10,000 second prizes.

“This is the first time we’ve ever entered,” Vidal said.

The first round of voting ends Monday, and as long as the AAW choir stays on its present pace, its chances of making it into the second round look good.

“AAW students will tell you, as one student does at the video’s end, ‘The Arts Academy in the Woods saved my life,’” said Maxwell Spayde, principal at the school. “A haven for creative, innovative and unique students, many of whom experienced bullying at their old schools, AAW offers fine and performing arts classes in addition to rigorous academics. The video speaks for itself. This is a school that does not stop believing.”

To vote for the video by Academy in the Woods visit

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