Local elementary school students will be on the stage of the Booker T. Theater on Thursday night for the John Battle Arts Christmas Recital.
The event starts at 6 p.m. and is free to the public.
“We actually have been partners with John Battle for a couple of events,” Rocky Mount teen coordinator Francheskia Fenderson said. “He has been teaching keyboarding lessons and guitar lessons for a while, so this is a good way to show he has been helping.”
Battle said the students he works with are ages 6 to 12 years old.
“We have in this recital about 15 students who are actually graduating or receiving a certificate,” Battle said.
The lessons have had positive effects beyond teaching them a skill they might not normally learn, Battle said.
“About 80 percent of the kids who participate are on the A/B honor roll,” Battle said. “We try to keep them focused so they are not doing something else.”
Helping to keep the students away from the violence they might otherwise engage in is key, Fenderson said.
“We have to do something to keep them occupied,” Battle said. “We have sports covered, but what do we have for children who are interested in music?”
Battle said he plans to expand his music program to Nash County beginning in January and is looking at possibly working with senior citizens sometime in the near future.