THE ARTS
  • Music

 

Taking Time for Music

"This has been my first year as a member of Nashoba Notes, a chorus for seventh and eighth graders. Singing is hard for me to do outside of school, because there isn't really time for it, so belonging to Notes is a good way to fit that in. We sing songs at assemblies, and every Tuesday morning we have practice before school. We perform for events such as Closing day, Graduation, and Open House. A big part of our year is the Winter Concert at school, and also performing with the Concord Orchestra with Richard Pittman, the conductor. This year we were the gingerbread children's chorus in the opera Hansel and Gretel. That was a neat experience. Mr. Pittman is a very good director. We were singing with amazing adult singers. Boys from Fenn School were the treble choir. We were the only children; the rest were professionals.

"In our regular music classes, we have been studying the history of American popular music. We were each given a decade-mine was 1900-09-and we had to do research not only about popular music of that time but everything of that time. We looked at current events and important figures in history and how music connected with those, such as in the Depression, the songs were happy-go-lucky. During my decade, barbershop quartets came into being really, and also a lot of patriotic songs that we don't think of now as never having been in existence, like 'Grand Old Flag.' Originally it was called 'Your Grand Old Rag.' There were also popular songs such as 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' another standard that seems always to have been with us.

"There are some school traditions that involve music. One of these is that seventh graders pick a song to sing to the eighth graders at graduation. This is a way for all of us, who will soon be taking their spot, to send off the eights with our blessing-to say 'Have a great time with your next school.' It took a while to make our selection. We tried to pick songs with positive messages. We put all the songs we thought would be good, and every week we went down the list and voted off songs that were really not right, and brought in new ones. We finally chose 'I Hope You Dance,' by Leanne Womack. Ms. Minor, our music teacher, was with us all the time, but this was our doing. Another musical tradition is the seventh and third grade musical. In music we seventh graders worked on a lot of the songs with Ms. Minor (this year we did Annie), and the third graders worked separately on their music with their teacher, Madame Marina. Then we worked as one group to put the whole production together."

Seventh grader, 2003

Teacher's comment: In their eighth grade year, girls have the chance to try out for the traditional production with boys from Fenn School, directed by faculty from Fenn and Nashoba Brooks. Qualified instrumentalists in grades four through eight may play in the Nashoba Brooks Ensemble. Every student, preschool through grade eight, participates in our music program.