SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As Whittier Middle School in Sioux Falls celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023, this year’s students are looking to inspire future middle schoolers.

The Whittier Middle School band, choir, and orchestra stepped into the spotlight for an early morning performance at Anne Sullivan Elementary.

Whittier and Anne Sullivan Band Director Anna Hakeman says it’s a concert the kids mark on the calendar.

“They look forward to seeing their little brothers and sisters, they look forward to showing off for their old teachers, they just look forward to this all year long and it’s a super-fun day for us all,” Whittier & Anne Sullivan Band Director Anna Hakeman said.

Members of the Whittier Road Show aren’t more than a few years removed from elementary school, and hope these younger students follow their lead and join extracurricular activities.

“I talk to my kids all year long because they know this is coming, they know they’re going to get to see these groups perform, and I say you’re going to keep practicing and when you get older you’re going to get good enough you can do this too and it’s a thing we work towards,” Hakeman said.

“It’s a great experience, I would encourage everyone to pursue the arts,” Whittier 8th grade drummer David Palacios said.

David Palacios is an 8th grader and says band is about more than making music.

“You might be struggling with making new friends, so maybe joining a club or band, you can make great friends, friends that will last a lifetime,” Palacios said.

Hakeman says students learn a host of skills through the arts, including perseverance.

“That applies to all of their school work, that applies to their sports, that applies to everything they do in life, so we don’t teach music, we teach life skills, just though music,” Hakeman said.

And these kids are next in line to step up to the mic.

Hakeman says it’s amazing to see the kids go from learning how to put their instruments together as fifth graders, to performing on tour in just 18 months.