Thursday June 21, 2018
Each year, Orchard music teacher Amy Frostman, art teacher Susie Ely, and physical education (PE) teacher Tommy Hamlin celebrate the arts at Orchard during culminating events in May. Fostering an appreciation for the arts along with their students gaining well-earned confidence, the Orchard teachers’ efforts were on display at this year’s school concerts, which featured a slideshow of clips and photos from both art and PE classes throughout the year.
Grades one through three performed first. In these grades, Frostman laid the foundation for more complicated choral pieces to come, worked on building a rapport with the students, introduced a range of musical arrangements, and added dance. The engaged and focused students sang a couple of opening pieces to piano accompaniment. Next, each class started their part in turn for a round, no small feat to coordinate considering the classes do not rehearse together in preparation. Afterwards, the first through third graders lined up by group to display their progress in line dancing.
The following week, the Orchard fourth and fifth graders showed that they have worked hard to hone the music skills begun in the younger grades. Also singing to piano accompaniment, they performed a polished partner song of “City Life” and “I Love the Mountains,” a fitting duo for South Burlington, a small city nestled in the natural beauty of Vermont. Then, after singing a round, the students closed with a performance of “Fifty, Nifty, United States.”
The recorder portion of the concert followed. Frostman says she uses two strategies to help the students gain proficiency in playing the recorder, which requires correct breathing, pressure on fingers to produce the correct notes, and keeping the rhythm of the song while all playing in sync. One is the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s (VSO) Carnegie Hall Link Up Program, where the students study a classical curriculum provided by the VSO, then visit the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts where they have the opportunity to play along with the orchestra. The other is “Recorder Karate,” where the young musicians earn a different color rubber band, or “belt,” for each song they master.
SOURCE: Emily Frazier Williams, Orchard School