Girard Academic Music Program
|Girard Academic Music Program|
|22nd & Ritner Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19145
|Founder||Dr. Jack Carr|
|School district||The School District of Philadelphia|
|Color(s)||Green & Blue|
GAMP covers grades five through twelve, and offers many extracurricular activities including: concert band, orchestra, chamber strings, jazz band, concert choir, high school and middle school choirs, middle school band, theatre productions, instrumental lessons for beginners. Because there are so many extracurricular activities related to music, there are relatively few non-musical ones.
The school is very concentrated on the performing arts but still enjoys a fine academic tradition. GAMP offers an advanced placement course in Music Theory.
As of school year 2013-2014, Principal Carol Domb administers the school. The school is broken up into three primary aspects. The first is Music Theory/Music Technology, which every student must take. The concentration of these subjects intensifies when students enter the high school level. The next aspect is Instrumental. Students who take lessons are required to participate in the beginner level bands. When they reach the high school level they may enter the more complicated bands that the school offers. Their open eighth or free period is geared towards the practice for these musical ensembles. Last is the vocal training. All students from grades 5-12 are required to participate in the choir with the choirs being broken up into Middle School Choir (grades 5-8), and High School Choir (grades 9-12). However there are students that exceed others at the art of singing and can try out for the special Concert Choir which only includes high school students, but exceptions can be made for students in 8th grade with exceptional vocal talent. The Concert Choir is the heart and soul of GAMP, touring and performing for many high-ranking officials in the Philadelphia School District, and also performs for other musical fixtures in the Philadelphia Area. The Concert Choir has performed for United States President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the Philadelphia Phillies, John Street, Michael Nutter, Tom Corbett, and many other local political and district officials. They have also performed with Paul Simon.
GAMP is very popular with the South Philadelphia community and known for musical theater and talent shows, alternating annually. However this tradition has recently been changed into an annual musical, and an annual student run talent show.
The Girard Academic Music Program began operation in September 1974 as an alternative program within the Stephen Girard School at 18th and Snyder Avenue. It began with one 4th and one 5th grade class of approximately 55 students, 2 academic teachers, 1 teacher’s aide and 1 music teacher/coordinator. They were the pioneers who initiated the academic and musical success of the school. The program has been housed in 3 locations:
The Trinity Church Parish House (18th & Wolf Streets); 1974–1976
The Armory, owned by St. Rita’s Church (Broad & Wharton Streets) 1976 - 1979
The Poe Building (22nd & Ritner Street) 1979 - till the present. As one of the first Small Learning Communities, GAMP has grown to its present size of a staff of 30 and over 500 students that include grades 5 through 12. The unique school organization has all students as “music majors” providing the framework for the development of a strong academic and musical program. With a 97% - 100% college acceptance rate among each senior class and scholarships valued at over one to two million dollars yearly, GAMP continues to grow in stature within the city of Philadelphia.
All students at GAMP participate in a musical component. This participation develops their musicianship and teaches them how to work together in an ensemble. GAMP students engage in triad of musical fields. Those being Choral, Instrumental, and Theory.
All students participate in choir. There are three choirs: Middle School Choir, High School Choir, and Concert Choir (for which students must audition). It is the Concert Choir that does most outside school performances and travels nationally and internationally.
The Instrumental Music Department consists of several instrumental genres from the Marching Band to micro ensembles. The department's emphasis is in developing the individuality of its student’s talents. The ethnicity of the student body and staff allow for creativity in varied musical styles from Jazz, Swing, to the Classics.
All students have three periods of Music Theory weekly. Students are grouped by grade level and ability. In theory class, students lean the basic building blocks of music, including sight singing and ear training. Students who advance to the top level by their junior and senior year, can take the Advanced Placement Music Theory Exam. Those whose scores qualify them receive college credit.
All students participate in a choir activity. This develops their musicianship and teaches them how to work together in an ensemble.
There are three choirs: Middle School Choir, High School Choir, and Concert Choir (for which students must audition). It is the Concert Choir that does most outside school performances and travels nationally and internationally (see below).
The students study a variety of choral repertoires, ranging from Classical, to Jazz, to Pop, to Broadway music. The Concert Choir has traveled and performed extensively. Travels include: San Francisco, Chicago, Colorado, Montreal, Florida, the Bahamas, a two-week tour of Italy (including Florence, Venice, and Rome) and a two-week tour of Germany and France. Notable performances have included: Singing for President Clinton, Governor Rendell; performing with Peter Nero and Philly Pops; appearing regularly at the Kimmel Center and other professional venues, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists, and Singing City Community Choir.
The GAMP Instrumental Music Department consists of several instrumental genres from the Marching Band to micro ensembles. The department's emphasis is in developing the individuality of its students’ talents. The ethnicity of the student body and staff allow for creativity in varied musical styles from Jazz, Swing, to the Classics.
GAMP offers various ensembles from beginners to the more advanced. They include: The Grace Notes (a beginning string ensemble), Middle School Strings, Chamber Strings, String Quartet High School Orchestra, Middle School Band, Swing Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, and Concert Band. Performances involve the program in many community services such as String Quartet at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Nexus Foundation),Side by Side performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Swing Band at the Rittenhouse Square (Flower Show), Jazz Band (Combo) at the Warwick Hotel, and the Marching Band in the annual Philadelphia Columbus Day Parade.
Core Academic Programs
Students at GAMP follow a college preparatory curriculum: six major subject areas carried by each student throughout grades 9 through 12. Compulsory credits for graduation include :
- 4 units of English
- 4 units of Math
- 4 units of Science
- 4 units of Social Science
- 4 units of Music Theory/Choir
- 2 units of Foreign Language
- 1 unit of electives:
- community service
- Problem Solving
- SAT math/verbal
- Concert Choir
- instrumental music
- AP course in Music Theory
- AP courses available at various School District locations
- College Courses (varies)
The GAMP mascot is the Pioneer. The mascot was named in a contest with Robert Fiss's selection of "Pioneers". "Quakers" was the second choice. The Pioneer was chosen because pioneers were courageous and contributed to the growth of this nation. GAMP is a pioneer in the field of education, by instilling in every student, the art of music, making it a rarity in the School District of Philadelphia. Much like the Pioneers contributed to the growth of this nation by courageously settling unknown frontiers, GAMP contributes to the growth of young minds.
The school has varsity Baseball, Male and Female Tennis, Male Basketball, Girls' Softball, and Cheerleading.