We tried something new this year. Actually two somethings. First we danced to a song choreographed by John Jacobson. The little ones really loved it–the bigger ones, not so much, but they did it. Sixth Grade students are always so worried about how they will be perceived by the High Schoolers. The second thing that we tried was making a giant flag. I had my fingers crossed. It made me more than a little nervous as I spent a lot of time mapping it out, assigning shirt colors, and explaining it. We always go to the high school in October for the Battle of the Buildiings (a fund-raising event by the student council to benefit Camp About Face). This year I took pictures of every row, every section, and mapped the students’ seating positions. Then I color coded the map and told the teachers what colors for every student. It worked out pretty well. I didn’t get a photo of us singing (standing, with the 50 stars all held up) as I was busy directing. Someday I hope to see a video of it!
We sang four songs: “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” (our standard), “Eleven Eleven” (featuring our 1st grade–if I can get the audio recordings merged into the video, I’ll add it), “Our Red, White, and Blue” (one of the prettiest songs ever), and “This Is My Country” (not the traditional one but a new version by Music Express). Here are two of the videos:
My favorite videos for students to watch, to see students experiencing the joy of singing, is the PS22 or Public School 22 Choir in New York, directed by the amazing Greg Breinberg. I love the children’s passion and enthusiasm. Mr. Breinberg reaches the students by having them sing all kinds of pop and alternative music, and the result is wonderful. Beautiful, original harmonies with great solos are made even better by all the happy faces. I get really nostalgic while watching them. We used to have time to sing and sing and sing in the elementary school. The Indiana State standards have to be covered now, although I can never ever cover them completely. I miss this–the kids standing around the piano and singing their hearts out. Standards are important, but this kind of passion is magical.
I created this video in 2004 and uploaded it in 2008. The music track is by Plank Road Publishing. That was before I knew anything about getting permission for posting on YouTube. Luckily, the nice folks there let me keep it up on the web, because it has been a comfort to many people across the country, especially the young students who really love it. It has over 800,000 views and over 400 comments. This song also seems to draw a lot of wrath from people from other countries who don’t share our love of liberty. Long ago, I locked it down so it couldn’t get anymore comments unless I approved them. There were also a lot of discussions about this song versus our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and which is the better song for our country. Hope you enjoy it!
Every year, the North Daviess High School has a fundraiser to benefit Camp About Face. The students at each building bring in their coins, and the top 3 classes in each building compete. The high school has won for the past 3 years at least. Mrs. Allen’s 5th grade class came in second, and Mr. Wilson’s 6th grade came in third for the Elementary. The teachers put on a fun show for the students at the end of the battle. I missed last year due to the death of my father, so I really enjoyed it this year. Here is the video of our great staff at NDCSC!
This video is blocked on mobile devices due to some of the songs the teachers danced to. If you cannot watch it on your iPad, etc., try the vimeo version at this link.
My students love Animusic, and I posted about it in 2007 (see this link). Now Intel has created a real life version of Pipe Dream. What a great marriage of science, technology, and music! It was created in only 90 days too, which is really mind-boggling.
If you haven’t join the Pinterest craze, did you know that you can just look without becoming a member? Just click on the red link on the left. If you find something that interests you, you can either break down and make a board or simply bookmark the link on your computer. I have almost 12,000 pins, so I am more than a little addicted. The thing I like the most about Pinterest is the plethora of creative ideas. I have hunted music blogs in the past on Google but had very little luck. After just a few searches on Pinterest, I have dozens of them bookmarked. The thing I don’t like about it is that it can’t be organized. I have trouble finding the pins when I’m looking quickly for something.
OK, last year I had a really rough start to the school year with my Dad having a stroke and then passing away. I had hoped that this would be a great year. On July 20th, unfortunately, I broke my ankle in 3 places and dislocated it too. It was a silly accident–I don’t even have a good story. The push mower simply started to slip near a ditch in front of my house. Because I was so worried about the mower, I didn’t pay attention to how close my feet were. The ground gave way, and my foot and I slammed into the ditch–in different directions. The mower thankfully didn’t cut me, and there were all kinds of cars that stopped to help me. My main thought was that I had ruined my vacation to see my daughters, and I was worried how I was going to start school (on August 12th). The vacation went off as planned, and I had incredible help from the staff and students at NDE! I would never want to do it again though!
Here are a few pictures of my time in DC with a broken ankle. My daughters attended North Daviess schools for six years before we moved back to Loogootee. Love my daughters!
The Sixth Grade General Music classes were again the accompaniment players for the Sixth Grade Choir performance during Awards Day. For one class only of four different GM classes, we recorded the audio first. Each class was responsible for learning one part of the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips. For instance, one class learned the melody of the refrain, while another class learned the chords. Two other classes learned the chords of the verses, and a few brave students learned how to play the Clavinova with the bass and percussion sounds (unfortunately, I forgot to videotape that). After we recorded the audio, then I recorded them playing as video. I mixed the music altogether in Sony Acid Music Studio, then matched the video to the audio in Sony Video Studio. The added animations were by Digital Juice. Don’t be scared off by the price of DJ media. Sign up for their newsletters as they have sales every week. All their audio, video, and graphics are Copyright free. You can even use their stuff in commercial projects!
There are not too many chords in this song: mainly C, Csus4, am, F, and G. It’s very easy to learn in root position, but I wish we would have had time to learn the inversions which sit under the hand better. Hope you enjoy our chords and can at least hum the tune to “Home.”