Marshwood Education Foundation and Chorus Director, Kris Bisson Bring New and Innovative Project to Marshwood Middle School:

“Brian Evans-Jones

Photo of old bridge

Students begin


Bridging Adolescent Learners – A River Runs Through Us: Composing our Story is a year-long

chorus composition unit that will be explored by the Grade Seven and Eight Choruses throughout the

2017-2018 school year. Through weekly classwork, students will create their own original lyrics,

melodies, harmonies, and accompaniment for an original piece to be performed in their June concert.

An important aspect of this project will be the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts,

and Math) interdisciplinary explorations students will make throughout the project. Also critical to

an authentic learning experience,  will be the integration of our work with poet, writer, and teacher,

Brian Evans-Jones, who will lead the students as Artist-in-Residence in finding their writing,

speaking, and singing voice.

An early piece of our project is to bring the entire chorus and Mr. Evans-Jones on a field trip to the

bridge on Vine Street in South Berwick, the Great Works Bridge, at Leigh’s Mill Pond and the Great

Works River. This trip will take place on SEPTEMBER 19 from 8:15 – 9:50 a.m. (rain-or-shine)

Here the students will be able to have a direct experience with the river as well as with the condemned bridge structure in order to create more meaningful and informed writing for their musical composition.

Coincidentally, the existing bridge is being removed in 2018 and a grassroots effort to construct a

footbridge is already successfully raising funds to support the effort through their group, The Great

Works Bridge Brigade. The Chorus students will have the opportunity to discuss their work with them

and take action to make a difference in their local community.

Goals of this project include science, mathematics and technological integration; collaborative

learning, creative thinking, listening skills, reflective writing, problem solving; exploratory

composing techniques, music theory, form and analysis; various recording platforms, and Noteflight

manuscript technologies.

Students will keep worksheets, reflective journal sheets and videos, and e-journals in Google

Classroom to record thoughts, reflections, and developing lyric and melodic ideas.


The opportunity to have an artist-in-residence is a wonderful enhancement to the curriculum being

explored. Having an expert help students with their learning is always a beneficial experience for

all. Last year was the first year I composed with my chorus students and I explored it without

additional experts. I am very excited to see how our learning will evolve this year with Brian’s

expertise on this project. In fact, that is one of the aspects that is most intriguing about this project.


Ms. Linda Becker, South Berwick resident, author, and member of the Great Works Bridge

Brigade, has agreed to come into our classroom to share her life experience and history as a

resident of this neighborhood and also as an established member of the Berwick Historical Society.

Having the opportunity to gain this important historical knowledge is a valuable aspect of this project.

A very special recognition of appreciation is extended to the Marshwood Education Foundation for

supporting this project.

We will have updates on our website

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