Getting Jazzy for the 2018 Elizabeth Wegner Musicians in Residence
At the end of October, our Lower School was proud to host Mike Noonan and the Unified Jazz Ensemble for our 2018 Elizabeth Wegner Musicians in Residence Program. For four days, members of the group worked with kindergarten through fifth-grade students to prepare for a group performance on Friday. Chesapeake Campus buzzed with rhythmic, jazzy energy for a week of learning, performing and fun!
A Toe-tapping Introduction
The residency began on Tuesday the 23rd with a performance for all Lower School students and faculty. Mike Noonan (trombone and vibraphone), John Pineda (bass violin), and Frank Russo (drums) played traditional jazz standards along with improvised children’s songs. As they performed each piece, they talked about their instruments, each member’s role in the group and how improvisation works in jazz. Our students and teachers couldn’t help but tap their toes to the infectious rhythms!
Call and Response Workshops
On Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Noonan and Mr. Russo held workshops for our kindergarten through fifth-grade students. They explored the “call and response” technique using different beats and patterns. They talked about the many ways to create sound using simple household items like boxes, bird seed, and empty canisters while demonstrating how sound can change depending on the size, shape, and materials used.After rehearsing as a group during the workshops, Mr. Noonan encouraged our students to share what they had learned with their families and practice at home. He also asked that every student create their own percussion instrument to bring to the performance on Friday.
On the last day of the residency, the full trio performed several songs for our parent and faculty audience. They asked each grade level to stand with their homemade instruments and play along in the call and response style. They even jammed with our Early School students without a rehearsal — that’s improvisation in action!
In honor of Elizabeth Wegner, for whom this memorial program was created, our students and faculty wore crazy socks to the performance. Mrs. Wegner often wore colorful socks as a simple way to bring joy to our students' lives. Our community will always remember her love of music...and silly footwear!
About the Elizabeth Wegner Memorial Musician in Residence Program
The Elizabeth Wegner Memorial Fund was created to continue Mrs. Wegner’s legacy by providing unique musical opportunities for our Lower School students. Mrs. Wegner taught music in our community for 14 years before her passing in 2014. She sought to provide a nurturing setting in which children of any age can joyfully develop their own talents in making, composing and performing music.
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