The first thing I do when planning a concert is look at the specific class of students I have and what their particular interests are and what would be fun and different to try with them.
Last Tuesday we had TWO concerts, the 4th grade concert (at 6:00 pm) and the 5th grade concert (at 7:00 pm). For the purpose of this blog I'm going to focus on my 5th graders.
Can I just say that my 5th graders, ever since they were kinders have been blissful. I have never had a group of students that are so incredibly kind to each other, that you can joke around with and then they get back to business and who are so excited to be with you. They were our first kinder class when we opened the school and they have grown into 146 amazing 5th graders.
Last spring my technology teacher came to me with the idea to collaborating together on the 5th grade. So... knowing we were moving the concerts to the high school we decided to go for it. Ya know, cause crazy is how we roll! There are some things that I would do differently but overall it went so well.
We started the concert with Firework (not a favorite of mine because the range is hard and for this particular group they struggle getting up to those high notes.) You can give it a listen:
So for this song they used finger flashlights. (I also have to mention that the man that was suppose to record our concert had an emergency heart surgery so I was able to get videos of 5 of the 10 songs). I had two student leaders helping me because this group is so large and our goal with this song was to work on expanding our vocal range.
Whenever possible I do like to incorporate art music or a listening/movement activity in the concert. For this concert we use The Aquarium from "Carnival of the Animals," with most of the movements from John Feierabend's Move It DVD. They used white gloves and black lights:
We also sang "Catch a Falling Star" and "Epo i Tai Tai" (for Epo i Tai Tai we used PVC pipes with glow in the dark tape and glow sticks to do a stick pattern. One of the 5th graders played Epo i Tai Tai on violin with our tech teacher playing cello as an introduction. (Note, they also added glow sticks to their bows and instruments... I wish I had a video!!!) And then we went into Counting Stars:
Another song we did that was really sweet was "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka. One of our grandmothers played piano for us and it was so sweet to see her perform for the first time with her granddaughter. The tech teacher also had the students program the Spheros so that they could toss them to the macro beat of the song and they would change colors. It was a pretty cool effect, despite them dropping the Sphero a could times (Yikes, those things are loud! And of course it was the ONLY time they dropped them.)
Then Tracy King blogged about this song, Fireflies. Knowing we were doing a "Glow Show" I knew we just had to do it too. The kids LOVED it and the parents were just in awe!
Then they went into Ghostbusters (I know, I know... this concert is so NOT Kodály... and that's not a bad thing... because I don't give them musical candy all the time!)
The tech teacher's son actually made the Slimmers... had we more time that would have been a good collaboration with the art teacher. We originally had them build Slimmers on the 3D printer but they were too small to be seen on stage. Then you'll also see the Spheros... the students had programed them to move in patterns on the stage but the night of the concert we realized we didn't have enough floor space. So, in the spur of the moment we had to change it on them and they had to manually drive them on the stage.
The highlight of the concert was having the students walk off the stage, picking up a candle flashlight and they walked up the aisles of the auditorium. I was so surprised at how seamlessly this went, provided they had NEVER performed in this space before.
From the audience they sang "This Little Light of Mine" and it was just tear jerking, there were mom's crying. It was AWESOME! Really, isn't our goal to make the moms cry at some point (tears of joy, not from any sounds they hear, lol!)
Then, again, the programmed Spheros that, as they faced the stage, started moving forward and gradually turning yellow as they sang "Here Comes the Sun" and they walked onto the stage. It was awesome, all 146 were on stage by the final verse and it was fun to hear the sound grow and grow as they joined each other to sing the final verse. I cried... and I don't cry at my kids' concerts...
Were there things that could have gone better? OH YES! Should I have picked more musically rich songs... maybe... but it was an aesthetic experience that these kiddos were raving about all week.
I hope you all are having an amazing weekend! Good luck on Halloween Monday! I know I'll need it!