When the lights go up March 13 at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts in Raleigh, the students of Fuquay-Varina Elementary School will be ready for the 30th annual Pieces of Gold performance.
The collaborative fundraiser between Wake County Public Schools and the Wake Education Partnership brings local talent to light each year. FVES music teacher Kip Caton has been a part of it all 30 years.
She started in 1986 with two students at the Civic Center. This year, Caton has 47 students, 10 boys and 37 girls.
The students have sung throughout the school year at various functions, but this is the culmination of many hours of hard work by students and their families.
“It’s an amazing experience for students to be up on stage,” Caton said. “It’s a rock star moment.”
But Caton believes none of the 30 performances would have been possible without the support from Wake County, Fuquay-Varina Elementary and the community.
“It’s a real priority for the arts here [at FVES],” she said.
She has seen students grow and find their niche while singing and performing.
“There’s their community,” she said.
FVES auditioned in early December, the day before the Christmas tree lighting in downtown Fuquay-Varina.
This year, nearly 30 groups of elementary, middle and high school students will take the stage. Caton’s students will perform Miranda Cosgrove’s “Raining Sunshine” from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
The brightly-colored umbrellas the students use in the performance match their upbeat attitude on the upcoming show.
“They are crazy excited,” Caton said.
And while it is a wonderful recognition for her students, she has taught the children to always be humble and appreciate their talents and the opportunity to share them.
“It’s just one of those memory makers,” Caton said. “I think it’s a life memory.”
Second-year Pieces of Gold participants Logan and Torri aren’t letting the nerves get to them.
“It’s pretty great to be on stage in front of thousands of people,” Logan said.
The students agreed once they get on stage and start singing, it’s like being amongst many, many friends.
Last year, Caton’s students sang “Digging Deeper” from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.”
Logan said this year’s song is harder for the boys because it has some really high notes.
Torri said Caton has been a source of strength throughout the process of learning the material and the audition, even with the hectic schedule of events they had.
“She’s great,” Torri said.
Caton’s students also will participate in a closing number that incorporates all of the nearly 700 students from the show, a tradition that has lasted 30 years.
The show will coincide with Gifts of Gold, an art show filled with talent from Wake County students.
“It’s just a real honor to be a part of this tradition for 30 years,” Caton said. “It’s good to see the arts in a constant role.”
Tickets for the show range from $15 to $60 and the show begins at 7 p.m. on March 13. Fuquay-Varina High School also will perform in the show.
Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Teacher Leadership Grants program, which provides four types of grant to teachers seeking to improve their level of instruction.
Do you have memories of taking part in Pieces of Gold? Caton is looking for photos and memories to share at the special event in March. Email her at email@example.com if you have photos to share.
Contact Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.