Monday, February 3, 2014

Notes From The Common School: Early Spring 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, call me at school 827-3071, or drop by the Common School any time.
As always, I am, Musically yours,
                            Miss Scott

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!!

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