2014 Veterans Day

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!

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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:

 

America, the Beautiful

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!

2013 Battle of the Buildings

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.

Real Life Pipe Dream

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.

6th Grade Keyboards

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.”

This Flag We Fly

The NDE students have been working on Veterans Day since the beginning of the school year. “This Flag We Fly” is a new song for us this year, and it has quickly become a favorite. What a beautiful song from MUSIC K-8! I really appreciate the songs in this wonderful magazine by Plank Road Publishing. This video features my Fifth Grade students.

Gratitude Attitude

Every year I feature the First Grade in a video for our Veterans Day Program. I’ve done this now since 2005. This year’s song is an adaptation of the song “Gratitude Attitude.” We changed the words to reflect our pride in American servicemen and women. A dozen or more students taped lines about their own family Veteran. The first and second grades are singing in the video.

Thank a Vet (Take 2)

Last year NDES students sang a different version of “Thank a Vet,” a Plank Road Publishing song. I wanted a more upbeat song for the First Grade, so I arranged a bluegrass version. The students loved the song though, so I decided to try it again this year, in the more traditional version. The Third and Fourth Grades sing in this video.

Missing My Father

I have been absent from school for several weeks due to the death of my father. He will be greatly missed. This is a video I made of my parents, my sister, and I, featuring the song “Daddy’s Hands.” Here’s hoping the beginning of next school year will be better!