"I like the dancing part, because [Grueschow] said I was a good dancer," said Lois Boim, 8. "But the freeze was the hardest."
Grueschow spent 10 weeks teaching students about the music and dance but also about the country, he said. The kids practiced the steps, rhythms and songs once a week while receiving a lesson on various African countries with a focus on Ghana.
"Ghana is more cooler and it has a lot more stuff there to do," 9-year-old Shawna Shipers said. "You get to do fun chants and you get to do fun music. Mr. A, he brought a lot of cool instruments and he taught us a lot of dances and chants."
For parent Heidi Flickinger, the exposure to another culture and music infused excitement for school in her daughter Meghan.
"I enjoyed just seeing how excited they were about the dancing and singing," Flickinger said.
"My daughter's been singing every day when she comes home from school just completely excited. And she always has a new fact about Ghana that she can tell me each week. It was fabulous they had such exposure to this culture and music."
Grueschow wanted the children to understand the music, to go beyond just memorizing the steps, he said.
"It's not just about mechanically going to through the dance steps or rendering the rhythms, but really finding some sense of freedom with them so that they can actually enjoy the dance and kind of tap into the same idea of what makes it exciting for people in Ghana to dance it," Grueschow said.
The Glendale Educational Foundation allocated $90,000 for the Los Angeles Music Center to bring visiting artists to 19 elementary schools around the school district to teach arts, music and culture.
ANTHONY KIM is a reporter for the Glendale News-Press. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at anthony.h.kimlatimes.com.