The Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is an educational arts program for students in grades K-11. SPA offers activities in the summer months, as well as special projects throughout the school year. SPA also oversees the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, a year-round auditioned choir for students in grades 3-9.
SPA was founded in the late 1980s after a need arose for summer vocal lessons. Though there was a small summer program for Elementary students, there were no opportunities for Middle or High School students. Grand Forks teachers Dean Opp, Brad Sherwood, Connie Sherwood, Jolly Sherwood, Tom Young, Lori Young, and Mike Weber worked together to create the foundation that ultimately became SPA. Though resources at the time were limited, vocal lessons soon led to structured recitals, which then led to musical revues, and within a few years, SPA became known for its full-scale, auditioned productions that are still in place today. In 1988, the summer musical was a revue entitled An Evening with Andrew Lloyd Webber. There were 30 cast members, 15 backstage helpers, and 13 staff members. Since 2002, SPA has averaged over 1,000 total participants per year.
The Mission of the SPA Program is:
To provide high-quality arts education for all SPA students in instrumental music, vocal music, dance, drama, and visual arts.
To create arts-based activities to meet the demand of all students that wish to participate, rather than limit opportunities and enrollment.
To create a positive, safe, and respectful learning environment for students, educators and staff.
To promote good citizenship and educate students on being good stewards of the community.
To promote and educate students on lifelong skills such as teamwork, cooperation, conflict resolution, tolerance, and good character.