Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Music Notes for Winter 2013

5th Grade Music Program: Don’t miss the performance of “The Quilt Speaks! A Journey along the Underground Railroad” presented by the 5th graders on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:30 and 7:00 PM. The students are excited to share this program with you, which has been a musical, historical, and artistic collaboration. Thank you to Mrs. Schumer for creating an art project for 5th grade students that ties into the performance and thank you to Mrs. Smucker for making connections in social studies. Thanks also 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Wharton and Miss Rankin, for laying the foundational knowledge in social studies last year that has allowed these students to make wonderful cross-curricular connections through this performance!

February by the Fire: Great music is coming to your public library! Spend the end of a weary winter week in the Old Worthington Library’s “living room” for February by the Fire, a series of Friday afternoon concerts sponsored by the Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries and coordinated in partnership with the Jazz Arts Group. All concerts begin at 4:00pm and the lineup includes:

o February 1: Dan Rowan, piano
o February 8: Tim Cummiskey, guitar
o February 15: Delyn Christian, singer/songwriter
o February 22: Molly Winters, singer/songwriter, with folk trio the Salty Caramels

A New Face in the Music Room: Please help me welcome Otterbein Student Teacher, Bethany Stang, to Bluffsview! Miss Stang actually completed field experience with us last year in January and is excited to be back at Bluffsview to complete her student teaching. Miss Stang will be with us from the end of January to the first part of May.

3rd Grade Music Program: Save the date for the 3rd grade music program, “Possibilities!” on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 at 1:30 and 7:00 PM.

Music Makers Spring Concert: Save the date for the Music Makers performance of “Lights! Camera! Action!” on May 6th, 2013, at 1:30 and 7:00 PM.
That’s all for now! Continue to make beautiful music in the world…

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Amazing Rendition of Our National Anthem

If you watched the Presidential Inauguration on Monday, you saw and heard Beyonce sing our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, at the conclusion of the ceremony.  I am always curious to hear a performer's version of this song that means so much to our country.  It is a challenging song to sing, without question, and there have unfortunately been many more performance "flops" than there have been successes.  Singers forget or mess up the words (who can forget Christina Aguliera at the SuperBowl a few years ago), change the melody, or can't remain in tune with the high notes at the end of the song.  Too often, in my humble opinion, a singer tries to make the song overly flashy and dramatic instead of simply singing it, and in doing so, makes the performance more about themselves than honoring our country. 

Beyonce, accompanied by The Marine Corps Band, added just enough flair to make it her own, while still remaining true to the melody and rhythm of the song.  I was very impressed with her performance, and think it was one of the best I have heard in quite some time.  Watch and tell me what you think...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

5th Grade Program Ties History, Art and Music Together

The Fifth graders are busy preparing for their music program on February 6th, 2012.  They will perform for the school at 1:30pm and then again for parents at 7:00pm.  Their theme this year is an interesting one, which ties together many different subject areas. 

The title of the program is, "The Quilt Speaks! A Journey Along the Underground Railroad."  In preparation for the program, students learned about the codes and symbols used in simple quilt patterns and folk songs that helped individuals to escape slavery through the Underground Railroad.  Building upon their learning in 4th and 5th grade social studies, students have made connections in music by learning to sing and play the folk songs and African American spirituals, as well as in art by embarking on a project to create a work encorporating the patterns of the quilt squares.  It's been very exciting to plan the program, and the students and I hope our audiences will be entertained and fascinated by this aspect of 19th century American History.

The North Star quilt block, for example, was a symbol used to remind slaves to follow the brightest star in the sky, the North star, which would lead them on their journey towards Canada.  The North Star is also part of the Big Dipper constellation, often referred to as the "drinking gourd."  This secret code word was used in the folk song, "Follow The Drinkin' Gourd," which gives incredibly explicit directions for making one's way along the Underground Railroad. 

The Zig Zag Path quilt block was a reminder to slaves that they may be followed by people who would put them in jail for trying to escape.  This square instructed them to dart around, to change their path, or to walk in the rivers or streams so that their scent could be lost.  The song, "Wade in the Water" reminded slaves of the same precautionary measures. 

The Sailboat quilt block was a reminder that once they reached the Great Lakes, slaves could board ships that would take them into Canada and to freedom.  It's possible that these quilt blocks would be visible in some manner so that the "slave friendly" ships could be identified.  The song, "Down By The Riverside" references laying down one's burden, meeting up with family and friends, and celebrating freedom by not thinking about one's struggles any more.

These three quilt square and corresponding songs are just a taste of what's to come on Wednesday, February 6th.  I hope that you will be able to attend one of these special performances!  Many thanks to Mrs. Schumer for incorporating this art project into her curriculum, and to Mrs. Smucker for her contributions in the social studies curriculum.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Jazzy Nutcracker?

Sixth graders spent most of December studying Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite.  After listening to selections from the original classical version, students also listened to a rock version by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and a jazz version by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.  Finally, students discussed the similarities and differences of all three versions.  Here is the Brian Setzer Orchestra performing their big band jazz version of The Nutcracker Suite.