Upper Grade Students Spread Holiday Cheer at Winter Concert!
By Mr. Potter, Music and Choir Teacher
Photography and Photo Captions by Mr. Pagan
With Winter Break just a few days away, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades sang their hearts out at their annual Winter Concert. The concert opened with the third grade singing two songs that display their ability to sing in multiple parts. The first, Bells Ring for Peace, adapts a traditional German round that begins, "Oh how lovely is the evening." The third graders split into three groups to sing this round, each group entering a phrase after the next to create harmony through the layering of their voices. Their second song, A Perfect Winter Day, highlights the conflicting feelings many students (and teachers too!) have about the winter season. The first section of this jazzy tune celebrates the joy of a snowy day while the second section laments how the winter often brings sickness. After singing both sections alone, the third grade split into two groups, each singing one of the sections, ending the song with a big sneeze and causing the audience to erupt into applause.
The fourth grade next took the stage, showcasing two difficult songs. The first, Winter Dream, highlights the hard work the students have been doing to sing lyrically by using the musical techniques of legato and ritardando. The song demands great focus from students in order for the entire group to stay together during sections where the tempo, the speed of the song, changes. Their second song, Cold Snap, playfully warned the audience of the coming cold weather and how to best stay warm while also featuring sections where students sang in two different groups. By the end of the song, most of the audience was snapping along.
The fifth grade this year has been working on singing and moving in multiple parts, which they demonstrated in both of their songs. In the first, In Winter, students sang with a beautiful legato sound about the beauty and grace of winter while presenting additionally challenges through tempo changes and sections where students sang in multiple parts. They next sang Hot Chocolate, an irresistible Latin-influenced song that made the audience want to get up and dance. In this song, fifth graders demonstrated their understanding of ostinato, which are melodic or rhythmic phrases that repeat over and over, at one point splitting into three different groups.
The 4th and 5th Grade Select Choir brought the concert to a close. Select Choir this year meets after school ends on Fridays, which demonstrates these students' commitment to the group. Both of the choir's songs used a structure similar to the third grade's second song, A Perfect Winter Day, where the group sings two contrasting sections alone before layering them on top of each other, a structure known as a "partner song." Their first song, Jing Jingle Bells, playfully adapted "Jingle Bells" for the first section while the second section contained an original melody that began, "Let's all take a sleigh ride." To close the concert, Select Choir performed We Wish You A Swingin' Holiday, a jazzy adaption of the Christmas carol, "We wish you a Merry Christmas." This challenging song featured scatting in its second section, the jazz technique of improvised singing using nonsense words, and perfectly summed up the feelings of the entire student body: that all of the students, teachers, families, and staff of PS 91, regardless of religion, might have a joyous holiday season and a happy New Year!
P.S. 91X Music & Choir Teacher