Saturday, July 14, 2012

Performances - My favorites!

At this time of year, many music teachers are starting to look at the school year with equal mixtures of excitement and resignation.

Yes - Summer is almost over
Yes - The school year will start.... ready or not
Yes - We will be expected to provide performances for our students to demonstrate their musical skill.
Yes - We always need new ideas!

My proposed performance schedule - (I was recently asked by my admin. what performances I hoped to accomplish... these are the performances I submitted to be worked into the calender at this point I cannot know if anything has been subtracted OR if anything new will be added.... anything is possible.)

5th grade SHOW! - Mon & Tues before Thanksgiving - this is the "big" production of the year and the only one for which I create a backdrop and costumes..... Since this program occurs before Thanksgiving, I do not do a holiday show....

All School Sing Along - early dismissal day in December - I LOVE this one! We all get to sing together.... it's the only time during the entire school year when the entire campus is together at once.

Go Texas Day - late February - joint program with PE in celebration of Go Texas Day!  Each grade level prepares their own Texas songs

2nd grade choral informance - March or April depending on the testing schedule - 1st chance for students to practice good singing and good riser etiquette.  This is a singing concert.... no speaking parts, no costumes... just singing.... - the kids LOVE it!

4th grade instrumental informance - March or April depending on the testing schedule - students present whatever work they have done on whatever instruments they have used.... Sometimes this informance is predominantly recorder.... sometimes we incorporate boomwhackers or Orff, whatever the students are working on at the time.

4th and 5th grade Choir - May - my choir meets in the spring semester.  We present a concert immediately before we perform at our district elementary choir festival.

Volunteer Appreciation - May - Whatever class is with me during the Volunteer appreciation lunch visits the luncheon and sings - for the last two years, this has been 2nd grade and we have simply sung a couple of songs from our concert.

Kinder graduation - late May - I prepare kindergarten to sing a few songs for their graduation

5th grade graduation - late May - I prepare a song for 5th grade to sing for their graduation

This has not always been my performance schedule.  With different schools, and co-teachers and administrations I have conducted student performances for each grade level.

Here are some of my favorites! 

Best of the Best! 
By Ruth Artman
I did this program with 3rd graders for 5 years.  We were able to compile costumes enough for an entire grade level and it was a wonderful and exhausting tradition.  I especially like this one because it is based on a major work.

The American Dream
John Jacobson & Roger Emerson
The American Dream is MY FAVORITE program of all time.... This show starts in pre-colonial America and goes through the Civil War.  I had a year of almost literal "show insanity" as I personally sewed 80 of the 110 costumes..... Even if you decide not to go costume crazy, the music of this show is compelling and exciting to sing!  It's simply beautiful! Now that I've been at my current school for a little while, I'm hoping to do this show again in a year or two..... we'll see! GREAT for 5th grade because it contains practically their entire unit of study for Social Studies.

We Haz Jazz
John Jacobson & Kirby Shaw

Just wonderful!  - LOTS of factual information with just enough fun. ALL of the costumes for this musical were purchased from a 2nd hand shop!  I like to accompany this show with a powerpoint because the jazz musicians are mentioned so quickly that a picture helps.  It might be nice to have students where the name of the musician they are portraying around their neck.  (Just a thought)

Song and Dance Man: George M. Cohan
By J. Gallina & M. Gallina

This is a wonderful combination of biographical information and patriotic music.  You don't need very many costumes but it's easy to make it more elaborate if necessary.   If you choose to do this one, this is the perfect time of year to purchase your patriotic items on sale since it's after the 4th!

Cheesy Fun! 
John Jacobson & John Higgins
This is an oldie but a goodie.... My co-teacher and I chose this one because of the line "I'm a maggot".  We were at TMEA previewing music and that statement made us laugh so hard we practically cried.  We did the musical with 4th and 5th graders rather than young children and it still worked very well.  This one is pure cheesy fun! 

How Does Your Garden Grow?
John Jacobson & John Higgins 

This is a great show because you can augment your vegetable and fruit costumes with bug costumes! I did this show with the little ones. 

John Jacobson & John Higgins

Your collection of farm animals can be augmented with bugs and vegetables. I did this show with 3rd grade.

Music Express Musicals! 
I find that I have less instructional time than I used to, so every moment is prime real estate!  In order for me to be able to produce musicals, I have had to scale back some on their scope.  I like these musicals because they lend themselves to the further study of musicians and their music. These musicals are all somewhat similar and therefore the costumes are entirely transferable.  Plus, I find that there are similar selections in our textbook adoption, so if I find that I have an extra class or need another song to highlight something, it is a simple matter to augment these musicals as needed.

On the Radio
John Jacobson & John Higgins
I love that this musical has the Andrews Sisters!  - This musical is VERY VERY Singable!

Rock and Roll Forever
John Jacobson & John Higgins

I almost didn't choose this musical because it has the Beatles song "I want to hold your hand"  Little did I know that "I want to hold your hand " was written for the 5th grade mind!  That song was their favorite!

Destination America
John Jacobson & Roger Emerson
This musical comes with great articles for students to read! This is a great musical, but rather than using "real" music, each song is composed to sound like a particular genre of music.  Very creative, but in my opinion it lacks some of the appeal.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much my students enjoyed it!

This is my choice for this year's 5th grade show
Broadway Beat
John Higgins, Cristi Cary Miller, Tom Anderson & John Jacobson

Just listening to the preview makes me excited about next year! 

As I was writing this post, I realized just how much John Jacobson has dominated my classroom.  I don't know if that is good or not, but I admit that I really like his musicals.  So in celebration of the fact that John Jacobson has become and almost omnipresent element in music education, here is the youtube video that catapulted him beyond the music teacher conference circuit and into the youtube hall of fame! 

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