Posts Tagged “Chorus”
I’m not sure why I have gone so long without blogging. It may have been because, with Ms. Morton teaching, we didn’t have some of the class discussions that tend to trigger blog posts. It may be that I’ve been a bit distracted, since a lot of my spare time has been taken up with the arrangements for my daughter’s wedding, which will take place before the end of school. Whatever the reason, it’s time to write again.
The last day of school for all of you is June 6th, which is six weeks from yesterday. That’s not that far off, is it? And the last day of school for me, forever, is June 7th. I am looking forward to retiring, but I will definitely miss all of you. But I know that it’s the right time for me to do this, and now that Ms. Bennett has hired Ms. Morton to be your teacher next year, I know that I am leaving you in good hands. And I will be around. I told Ms. Morton that I’m not going to be here looking over her shoulder, but if she has questions or needs help with anything, I will be glad to help.
Between now and the end of the year, however, we have a lot of work to do. Here is a list of upcoming performances:
National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony: May 8th. This is a handbell performance.
Fifth grade articulation (when next year’s sixth graders visit): May 16th. Handbells and Concert Chorus.
Spring Concert: May 23rd. Beginning and Concert Choruses and Handbells. This is the biggie! And, since it’s my last spring concert, it will be very special.
8th grade awards: June 3rd, at Wellington High School. Concert Chorus.
6th and 7th grade awards assemblies: June 5th, during the day at WLMS. Handbells.
Boy, that’s a lot to squeeze into the next five weeks. Are you ready?
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It’s that time of year when we get very busy with performances. Beginning Chorus will kick everything off by singing at Barnes & Noble on December 1st. Yes, that is a Saturday, but it’s a very short performance. Everyone needs to arrive by 11:45. We will sing at noon, and our mini-concert lasts only about 20 minutes. As soon as we’re done, you are free to leave. It’s also very informal. You will need to wear your Chorus shirts, but you can wear them with jeans.
Winter Arts Festival is our opportunity to show off all the music programs at Landings. This is actually a series of concerts that takes place over three nights, but each group performs just once. (I know some of you will need to come twice, if you are in both chorus and band and your groups are playing on different nights. Sorry!) Beginning Chorus will sing at the Wednesday evening performance, and Concert Chorus and Handbells will perform on Thursday. The Wednesday evening concert will be short, probably less than an hour, because there are just two groups performing that night. Unfortunately, we have no beginning handbells this year; that would have been their night to perform, which will make the concert shorter.
Concert Chorus will have one more performance, on December 14th at the Kravis Center. I will be sending home more information about that in a few days. I turned down another performance request for December, because I think we have more than enough to do!
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I’ve had some fun picking music for Concert Chorus, and I think you’re going to like it. We’re going to do some challenging stuff, including one piece in Italian and one in German. The Italian is a piece called “Nella Fantasia,” and if you are familiar with the vocal group Il Divo, you probably have heard this. I don’t have a recording to link for you yet. However, you can listen to the song we’re going to do in German. When you listen to the recording, you’re actually going to hear two short songs, but we will only sing the first one. The title means, “ring, little bells.”
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I know that I’ve told you about the Tone Deaf on-line comic before, and the new posters in the Chorus Room are from this series. The artist, John Bogenschutz, is a former band director, so most of the strips are about band. But occasionally, he does one for chorus. If you follow this link , you’ll see a new one of these. Eric Whitacre is a choral composer who writes beautiful, but very difficult and complex music. His pieces aren’t anything we would ever consider in middle school. I think that Mr. Chase has done one or two at Wellington High School, but Whitacre’s music is mostly college-level. And there’s nothing ordinary about the parts. You can listen to some samples of his music at Mr. Whitacre’s website. Anyway, I think the comic strip is pretty funny. The music is not funny, but it is absolutely beautiful. Listen to “Alleluia” if you get a chance.
If you read about Mr. Bailey in the newsletter you received today, you may have noticed that, this past summer, he made a recording with the Professional Choral Institute and Seraphic Fire. Seraphic Fire is a chamber choir based in Miami that has received a lot of acclaim for their performances. In fact, the recording of which Mr. Bailey was a part is nominated for a Grammy!
If you are interested, here is a link to the Seraphic Fire website. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any recorded examples of their music available on the web. I may have to break down and buy the CD. I definitely think it’s worth it.
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A reporter from the Town-Crier newspaper came to school two weeks ago to visit Concert Chorus, to find out more about our upcoming performance at the Kravis Center. She wrote a very nice article that appears in this week’s paper. She also shot some video while we were rehearsing, and that is on the newspaper’s website. I don’t know how long it will be up there, so you might want to check this out quickly.
Here’s the link to the article. You can click on the link in the article to see the video. Warning: don’t try this on a school computer. The video is blocked.
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You can follow this link to the Kravis Center website to see us listed for our Beyond the Stage performance before My Fair Lady on December 3rd. I just get a little crazy when I see us listed like that. Then I know it’s real.
I got an email from Ms. Prater today, with a number of dates, and the Barnes and Noble day is the same date as our Kravis performance. So Concert Chorus will not be performing at B&N. I may take Beginning Chorus, but we’ll see as we get closer. There’s only so much I can do!
Also, my plan is for Concert Chorus to sing for the PTO volunteer breakfast on September 15th. That means we will have to get started on some new music right away. But it will be good to get our performance schedule rolling.
I hope you are all continuing to have a wonderful summer. Here’s another picture from my vacation. This was taken at the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, Washington. This is a fantastic interactive museum, mostly about contemporary music. I’m standing in front of the “guitar volcano,” a sculpture made up of hundreds of instruments. Not all of them are guitars. This sculpture actually plays music! Read all about it.
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Great news for Concert Chorus: we have been accepted to perform at the Kravis Center for their Beyond the Stage series! We got our first choice of date, December 3rd. We will sing on the grand staircase before the show on the main stage. That evening, the main stage performance is the musical “My Fair Lady,” so we will probably sing some Broadway songs and maybe some jazz standards. We’ve done this twice before, and it is a very special experience. It will make our first semester very busy, since it will be different music from what we do for our joint concert with the high school chorus and winter arts concert. But I know you are up for the challenge!
Fasten your seat belts! Things are going to be moving fast for the next few weeks!
We’re now less than one week until the 5th Grade Articulation performance by Concert Chorus and Advanced Bells, next Tuesday, May 3rd. This is during the school day, so you need to be sure that you check with your third and fourth period teachers that you get any assignments or work you will miss. Also, I need as many people as possible to help set up that morning.
Beginning Bells will ring for the National Junior Honor Society induction the next evening, May 4th. The program begins at 7PM. Please plan to be here by 6:30 to set up your bells, notebooks, and mallets. The ceremony should last about an hour, and we’ll put everything back in the handbell room before dismissal. Your parents are welcome to stay and listen, but if they don’t stay, please make sure that you have a ride home by 8:15.
Finally, spring concert is less than two weeks away, on May 10th, at 7PM in the cafeteria. That’s a Day 4, so advanced handbells will be able to set up in the cafeteria during last period. I’ll need as many chorus people as possible to help after school to move and set up equipment. And, of course, we have to get EVERYTHING out of the cafeteria after the concert.
Everyone is working very hard to get their music ready, and I am very proud of the effort you all are making. Sometimes, it’s easy, after MPA, to feel that you want to just coast out to the end of the year. Thanks for keeping up the effort.
You all have worked so hard to get ready for performance assessment, and I am so proud of what you have accomplished. I know that both choruses are going to do well this afternoon.
Whatever the rating we receive, it does not define us, either as individuals or as a chorus. As long as we give our best efforts, and do the best job we can, we have nothing to feel bad about. Nobody should ever have to apologize for being “excellent.”
I also don’t think I have ever been prouder of a Concert Chorus than I was of you on Wednesday, when you were working with Mr. Chase. You all stood for the entire class period, nobody complained, there was no parade to the water fountain, restroom, etc. You listened attentively and tried to execute everything he asked of you. Your actions showed how focused and committed you are to doing your best.
It doesn’t matter what the judges say tonight, I know that you are superior singers and young people in every way.