We're off to a great, new school year & I want to welcome our incoming Kindergarten classes, our new students, Ms. Ballou, our new Principal, new teachers, and everyone returning! We've got loads of musical activities planned for our General Music classes, and lots of music for our Instrumental Music lessons, Concert Band, Chorus, and Jazz Ensemble.
Please check back for our Music Department's Newsletter "Notes from the Common School" for information and upcoming events!!
Looking forward to a spectacular year!
Monday, June 20, 2016
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Looking forward to a great new school year! I am trying to make communicating with everyone easier and more efficient than ever before.
For years I have written a periodic paper newsletter titled "Notes From the Common School" to convey information about the state of Music Education at the Fairfield Center School.
Thus I have created this website to convey information about the Fairfield Center School Music Department Courses, Philosophy, Concerts, Music Festivals so much and more!
Bookmark notesfromthecommonschool.blogspot.com and Follow by Email to stay up to date with the Music Program at the Fairfield Center School and Common School.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Calendar of Events
June 4th Preschool- Middle School (Band, Chorus & Jazz Ensemble) Spring Concert @ 1:00pm in the Gym
June 5th Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival - Fairfield Jazz Ensemble "52 Soule Drive" @ 12:30pm - 1:30pm on the Church Street City Hall Stage
June 23rd - 26th, The Greater Saint Albans Middle School Band Washington, DC Concert & Cultural Trip!!
CHECK OUT THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT'S VIDEO OF FAIRFIELD'S 250th BIRTHDAY PARTY FROM OCTOBER!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7OOsXEuvKI
Our Music Department is working full blast! The Vermont Maple Festival Youth Talent Show was awesome & Fairfield was well represented. Emma Archambault & Faith Reed, in Division II, danced with a number of students from neighboring schools & Tyler Lobdell played "Rumba", a very difficult Alto Saxophone piece, accompanied by yours truly, and won the Second place trophy in Division III! Tori Legrand, now a Senior at B.F.A. St. Albans, sang! Go Fairfield! You all make us proud!
The 48th Annual Vermont Maple Festival Parade was a wash-out for us this year. After months of rehearsing the Jazz Ensemble, and spending my Spring Break cleaning, washing, mending, & repairing our Banner and flags, we had to cancel at 10:30am Sunday. I just could not, in good conscience, send out our students and electrical audio equipment in 45 degree, windy, misting/ lightly raining, raw weather! Norman Menard had prepared the wagon, generator & sound proofed box to cover it, decorated with hay bales & sap buckets: Thank you, Mr. Menard! And Thank you to Sam Dukas, who was awarded a "Random Acts of Kindness" award for the Month of April, for hanging in with us right to the end. He had arranged to drive his Grandfather's antique tractor to tow the Jazz Band float!! Thank you Mr. Menard & Sam for your generosity!! Oh, well. Next year? Thank you to all the parents & students, and community members who support us and help us out every year!
On Thursday, May 22nd, the school will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony in the Gym at a time to be announced. Our fine Trumpeter Madison Wells will perform an arrangement of "Taps", and a possible Concert Band and Chorus offering may be on the program, too.
On Wednesday, June 4th our Preschool through Middle School students will present their 2014 Spring Concert at 1:00pm in the Gym. Kindergarten through Fifth grade classes will perform vocal selections from the musicals "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang" and "Annie", as well as a variety of other songs. The Sixth grade Drama class is slated to perform two scenes from "Annie" & the Sixth Grade Drumming group will demonstrate their talents, too. Our 8th grade Music Technology class is hoping to have their Music Videos ready to present, as well. The Middle School Concert Band, Fairfield Jazz Ensemble, "52 Soule Drive", and Middle School Chorus will offer some of the music they've been perfecting & there'll be a musical treat or two showcased as well. Please come over for the annual Barbecue and a great afternoon of music!
The Fairfield Jazz Ensemble has been invited back again, for the 7th year, to perform for an hour at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival's "Jazz on the Marketplace" concert series, Thursday, June 5th at 12:30 on Church Street's City Hall Stage! Come hear our polished & accomplished group play and look for us on the 5:00pm & 6:00 news broadcast by WPTZ TV! We've been featured every year!!
And one last short note: Many, many of my present and former music students, colleagues & fellow professional musicians nominated me for the first-ever 2014 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. Of the 30,000 music teachers in the running, I was one of 217 quarterfinalists from across the country! The Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. One recipient was selected from 10 finalists and was flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and received a $10,000 honorarium, plus a matching grant, all for their school's Music Department!!!. I am totally humbled by the outpouring of support! Maybe we can try again next year?
That's it for the moment. Always feel free to stop by the Common School, call me at (802) 827-3071 or email me at email@example.com with any questions, suggestions, concerns or comments.
Monday, February 3, 2014
This has been a great school year! Our students are happy, enthusiastic, interested, dedicated & focused, are making good use of class & rehearsal time and are following the school’s HR3 expectations of Honesty, Respect, Responsibility & Readiness to Learn.
All General Music classes began the year learning about the history of Fairfield to prepare for the October 5th 250th Birthday Celebration. We looked at some of our students' family trees, learned about our town's founding families and the history of Fairfield. Classes listened to and sang some songs written around the time that Fairfield was settled, looked at the book "Fairfield Vermont Reminiscences to make comparisons of what the buildings looked like in the past compared to today. The Band performed music from 1750 to the present day at the Birthday Celebration and the Music Department filmed the event and has posted it on Facebook! We learned/relearned to sing the Star-Spangled Banner, National Standard #5: Reading and notating music. All classes practiced and demonstrated whole, half, quarter & some classes have even delved into 8th, 16th, and 32nd notes & rests, too! We have learned a bit about orchestral instruments; I played just about every instrument we have in the school and those from my home to demonstrate the sound and capability of each one, and 5th graders spent a lot of time exploring & playing these instruments, too, before selecting their course of study. We have 12 new Instrumental Music students this year!
In addition to music theory exercises & instrument exploration, K-5 General Music classes have been vocalizing, learning educational, expressive & silly songs and performed a variety of these pieces for their December concert. Special thanks to Evan James for his videography & audio engineering expertise. DVDs of the two evening Concert footage are now available. It's absolutely excellent! Contact me to purchase your copy!
Since January the Kindergarten & First Grade classes have viewed and sung a few songs from "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang", and are now working on songs for their Spring Concert performance. We sing, dance, act, and have a blast in class!
The Second Grade is currently preparing their musical "The Little Red Hen", based on the folk tale of the same name. It's the classic story of a hardworking hen and her lazy friends, told in our culture as well as that of many others. It incorporates Social Studies, cooking, bread making, Socio-emotional development aspects, Gross motor skills, dramatic play, language arts, mathematics, science, art, costumes, scenery and, of course, music. We have lots of chickens, roosters, pigs, a cat, a cow, and a steal-eyed fox readying themselves for the stage!
Additionally, Fifth Graders have been attending their 30-minute once a week Instrumental Music lessons since late September and are making excellent progress! We have two new flutists, two clarinetists, two saxophones, one trumpet, one trombone, and three percussionists! This is an excellent group of dedicated, enthusiastic young players and these students will play “YMCA” with the Middle School Band for the June concert!
Throughout this whole school year, our Middle School students have spent time, sharing their input to help create a music curriculum for the year. Students have taken surveys, had discussions & debates, made lists of interests, wishes and dreams and then compiled the data to customize their curriculum. We worked on music theory in September, assessed prior learning, and refreshed knowledge of note names & values. We spent October learning about Middle School students spent November & December selecting & learning the music performed in the December 2013 Concert. The Middle School Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble and Chorus also performed a variety of music that evening. Middle School classes spent January learning a little more about musical notation and rhythms. The January Music survey results overwhelmingly requested Guitar studies so we have now begun learning to play the Guitar by way of “GarageBand” lessons and tutorials from my Apple devices. Many students are interested and enthusiastic about learning to play. GarageBand lessons come bundled on Macs and can be purchased very inexpensively for use on iPhones, iPods & iPads for students to practice and learn on their own. I wish I could loan out Guitars, but we only have 20, in soft cases. Thank you again & again to Dawn Mulheron & The Wellness Massage Center & Institute in St. Albans, our kind & thoughtful parents, students & teachers & our anonymous Bottle Angels for these lovely instruments!!!!! We could have never afforded these very nice guitars without your generous support!!!
Thirty Fairfield Middle School students who are members of our Chorus & Band participated in the 2014 Northwest District Music Festival at Missisquoi Valley Union Middle & High School on March 27th & 28th. Students from Middle Schools in Franklin County joined forces to create a 130 member 6/7th grade Band, a 90 member 8th Grade Band, and a 100 member Chorus. The groups rehearsed all day Friday and Saturday and presented a huge Concert of challenging music on Saturday afternoon. It was one of the finest District Festivals we have ever participated in and the Fairfield Center School students were practiced and prepared and took leadership roles in each of their ensembles! Congratulations on an excellent performance! Our singers and musicians make the Fairfield Community and our School very proud!
Students who expressed their interest in participating in the 2014 Vermont Maple Festival Youth Talent Show during Spring vacation in April have met with me about their acts. Application forms were submitted to the Talent Show coordinators on April 29th and auditions for the show will take place in the Band Room at BFA St. Albans on Saturday, April 13th. Please let me know what I can do to help…suggestions, CDs, Karaoke, Piano Accompaniment. Students have been scheduling rehearsals on weekends and after school to prepare. The Talent Show takes place at 7:00pm on Friday, April 29th in the B.F.A. St. Albans Performing Arts Theater. COME OUT TO HEAR, SEE & SUPPORT OUR TALENTED YOUNGSTERS!!
We're looking for Trotters, (our Pep Squad), and banner & flag carriers to join the school Band in this year's VERMONT MAPLE FESTIVAL PARADE representing the Fairfield Center School to show school spirit and to support the Maple product makers of Vermont. Invitations have been distributed to the students. These forms were on or due before March 21st. Please email me or call me immediately if you wish to participate!!
The Preschool through Middle School Spring Concert will take place on Thursday, June 6th at 1:00pm in the Gym and the next day, Friday, June 7th, "52 Soule Drive", Fairfield’s swingin’ Jazz/Funk/Rock/Soul Band, will perform again this year at Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival on June 7th from 12:00 – 1:00pm on the Champlain Chocolates Stage! This group rehearses only once a week on Wednesdays from 2:00 – 2:40 in the Common School, but we work hard!
That’s it for now. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me at school 827-3071, or drop by the Common School any time.
As always, I am, Musically yours,
…As of today…subject to change…
April 12th Maple Festival Youth Talent Show Auditions @ BFA Band Room St. Albans
April 24th Maple Festival Youth Talent Show Dress Rehearsal @ BFA Performing Arts Auditoium 6pm
April 25th Maple Festival Youth Talent Show @ BFA Performing Arts Auditorium 7pm
April 27th Maple Festival Parade @ 1:00 Houghton Park, St. Albans - Fairfield Jazz Ensemble "52 Soule Drive" Meet at NOON in Houghton Park
May 22nd Memorial Day Ceremony - Musical offerings in the Gym, TBA
June 4th Preschool- Middle School (Band, Chorus & Jazz Ensemble) Spring Concert @ 12:30pm in the Gym
June 5th Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival - Fairfield Jazz Ensemble "52 Soule Drive" @ 12:30 noon on the Church Street City Hall Stage
June 23rd - 26th, The Greater Saint Albans Middle School Band Washington, DC Concert & Cultural Trip!!
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Calendar of Events
May 30th Memorial Day Ceremony - Musical offerings in the Gym @2:00
June 6th Preschool- Middle School (Band, Chorus & Jazz Ensemble) Spring Concert @ 12:30pm in the Gym
June 7th Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival – Jazz on the Marketplace
Fairfield Jazz Ensemble "52 Soule Drive" from 12:00 noon to 1:00pm
on the Church Street Champlain Chocolates Stage
The Music Department is working full blast! The 2013 Vermont Maple Festival Youth Talent Show was awesome & Fairfield was well represented. Faith Reed & Emma Archambault, in Division I, danced to "Illusion" & "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better"; Leah Branon, in Division II, sang "The Climb"; Tori Legrand, now a junior at B.F.A. St. Albans, sang "You & I", and Dominic Cicilio, a B.F.A. senior, played his fabulous original Piano composition, "Composed by Dominic" and won 1st place in Division IV & also won the Ducham "Best in Show" award. You all make us proud!
The 47th Annual Vermont Maple Festival Parade was a great success and the weather was absolutely ideal! Many, many thanks to the Candi Branon for coordinating our "Trotters" Pep Squad and to Jon & Candi Branon for providing TWO lovely red wagons, one for the Fairfield Jazz Ensemble & one for the Trotters. The "floats" were beautifully decorated with flags, maple leaf emblems created by Desarae Branon, maple syrup bottles & hay bales & everyone wore their tie dyed tees created in their Art classes. Our entry was a vibrant, colorful, creative addition to the event! Thank you to Ned Branon who drove their sweet, antique John Deere tractor for the Trotters float & to Charlie Branon for smoothly towing the Jazz Band float!! Special THANKS! to Pat Branon for providing us with his generator, for the Branons’ ingenious solutions for accommodating the equipment, soundproofing it & at the same time, providing seating! Thank you to Kara Garceau, Desarae Branon & the many parents who helped to decorate, coordinate & manage all the details; another very special Thanks to Cliff Coy for his efforts to help us out in our distress at the very last moment! Thank you to all the parents & students, and community members who participated with us & who came out to support us!
On Friday, May 10th, St. Albans City's Middle School Jazz Band, with their Music Director, Mr. Frank Mehaffey, came to Fairfield for a day of rehearsals with our Jazz Ensemble and presented an excellent Concert for the Fairfield school that afternoon. Each school ensemble performed two numbers independently and the combined groups played two pieces together! It was an invigorating, inspiring, very educational experience and the Concert was very enthusiastically received by our students & faculty!!
May 30th, the school will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony in the Gym at 2:00pm. Our Trumpeters, Sofia Spano & Madison Wells will perform an arrangement of "Taps", and a possible Concert Band offering may be on the program, too.
On Thursday, June 6th our Preschool through Middle School students will present their 2013 Spring Concert at 12:30 in the Gym. Kindergarten through Fifth grade classes will perform vocal selections including such favorites as "We've Got the Whole World in our Hands", "I Love Mud", songs from "The Sound of Music", a World Drumming & Dancing creation, an adorable Mexican Folk Song, "Don Gato" and a Spoken "Insect" Chorus. The Middle School Concert Band, Fairfield Jazz Ensemble, "52 Soule Drive", and Middle School Chorus will offer music they've been perfecting & there'll be some solo, small ensemble & chamber music showcased as well. Please come over for the annual Barbecue and a great afternoon of music!
The Fairfield Jazz Ensemble, “52 Soule Drive” has been invited back again, for the 6th year, & will perform for an hour at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival's "Jazz on the Marketplace" concert series, Friday, June 7th beginning at noon on Church Street's Champlain Chocolates Stage. Come hear our polished & accomplished group play and look for us on the 5:00pm & 6:00 news broadcast by WPTZ TV! We've been featured every year!! After our performance, our Jazz Ensemble will have the fine opportunity to watch & listen to the All-State Jazz Ensemble, featuring Fairfield Alumni, Pianist Clayton Roberts along with 18 of the finest High School Jazz musicians in Vermont. Congratulations, Clay! Listening forward!
Our Middle School Chorus will not be performing at this year's Eighth Grade Graduation.
The Greater Saint Albans Middle School Band is gearing up for our June 2014 Concert & Cultural adventure to Washington, D.C. All Middle School Instrumental Music students from Fairfield, St. Albans City & Town schools will be potential candidates for this four day event. Sign-up sheets and informational material will be distributed before the end of this school year. Contact me if you need or want more details. This is an absolutely fabulous opportunity for our players! Sign up as soon as you can.
And, lastly, many, many of my present and former music students, colleagues & fellow professional musicians have nominated me for the first-ever 2014 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. I am one of 217 quarterfinalists from across the country! The Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. One recipient will be selected from 10 finalists and will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium, plus a matching grant, all for our school's Music Department!!!. If you wish to share your thoughts for my application, please contact me or stop by the Common School before June 3rd, or send a short video testimonial to me at email@example.com I am totally humbled by the outpouring of support already!!! Wow! Who knows?!
That’s it for the moment. Always feel free to stop by the Common School, call me at (802) 827-3071 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, suggestions, concerns or comments.