Neenah schools join program to let all students shine

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NEENAH, Wi (WBAY) - A program new to the Neenah Joint School District helped make its annual summer choir performance a showstopper.

At a glance, it seemed like a typical youth show choir performance, but this year the summer concert had some extra talent on their roster.

Abilities in Harmony is a three-day camp that helps students with special needs perform in a show choir. The camp travels throughout Wisconsin and in parts of Minnesota.

“There is a gap in opportunities for them to do singing and dancing and so many of these kids have watched their siblings participate in this and never had that opportunity,” said Abilities in Harmony Executive Director Sierra Lyon.

Neenah show choir students could volunteer to help mentor their classmates through the camp.

“The entire thing was so fun and working with Rebecca was great,” said Anna Horn, a junior in show choir.

District Music Chairman Cheryl White has family members with special needs, and thought it was important to bring the Abilities in Harmony program to Neenah.

“My heart is going a hundred miles an hour because they were so happy to be onstage and singing, and feeling like every other student up there,” said White. “Just being the star for a few minutes.”

The performance gave them star power and a chance to show their family and friends what they can do.

“I like having fans,” said Rebecca, one of the students who participated in the program.

White was thrilled to see the program’s success and hopes to do it again next year.

“It doesn’t matter what ability you have, what level of ability, everyone can sing, everyone can dance, everyone can share their talents with everyone around the world,” said White. “Music is universal.”

Abilities in Harmony is a non-profit group. Visit its Facebook page or website if you want to donate or learn more.