A Teacher’s Reflection on Children’s Day, 2015
by Jennifer Green
We felt like superstars arriving through the stage entrance and having to be “on the list” to get past security. (It’s the little details that thrill.)
10:00am - 10:30am: Observe ESO Rehearsal
It was interesting to listen to how the ESO prepares for a performance and was most surprising to see the normally formally-clad musicians in their summer street clothes instead of tuxedos and gowns.
10:30am - 10:45am: Walking Break (Students and Teachers Move to their First station)
The students were mesmerized by the grandeur of the front entryway at the Winspear. Strangely enough, they were also impressed by the opposing banks of mirrors in the washrooms that create an optical illusion of infinite depth. I wasn’t expecting this to be a point of interest, but hey kids see things through their own lenses. The Rice Krispy treats were also a hit with the kids!
10:45am - 11:15am: Session 1
Two maypoles with colour-coded ribbons were set up in the bright Winspear lobby. The children enjoyed weaving the ribbons in a basket pattern and this was a neat way for students from different schools to break the ice and interact with each other. I believe Kim Friesen-Wiens was tied up in knots at one point, but this didn’t stop her from calling out the weaving movement patterns for the students to follow.
Our group proceeded to the spacious practice studio and the students split into recorder or instrument specialties. The students were challenged by the low notes in the recorder part and were please that they were able to master them for the performance. Our pitched instrument crew banded together and created a lovely accompaniment for the recorders and singing of Dr. Bob de Frece’s “Sing from Your Heart.”
Teachers enjoyed lunch by Acapella Catering in the quiet and classy Founders Room. What a treat to visit with colleagues and enjoy a delicious lunch that was made by someone else. (I’m a mom who packs a lot of lunches.) While the teachers finished their lunch, the students quickly ate and prepared the finishing touches for their concert.
12:15pm - 12:45pm - Sharing Time for parents and special guests
The performance by 80 students was amazing! The two teams of 40 converged and merged their song, recorders, instruments and maypole dance. Parents, some who work in the downtown core, were able to dash in over lunchtime and join us to see the amazing final product. I’d like to say congratulations to Joanne Linden, Connie Ohlmann, Angela Lee and Kim Friesen-Wiens for putting this grand performance together in a little over an hour of teaching time.
12:45pm - 1:15pm: Tour of the Organ
The students were mesmerized and amazed by the tour of the Davis Concert Organ. Our tour guide, Alyssa, was also an organist and talented educator. She explained all the intricate parts of the organ and showed the students how it works, while they stood close-up in the choir loft. Did you know there is a remote keyboard on wheels that rolls onto the stage and can control the organ from below by linked cables? Our jaws dropped when we heard there are 6551 pipes in the organ and that it was made possible by a 2 million dollar donation. Did you know it takes two professional tuners two full weeks to tune the organ? Students also loved the celeste demonstration and instantly recognized the Harry Potter theme that Alyssa skillfully played. It was fun to be on the Winspear stage and in the choir loft, as well as walk through the hallways and entrances that the many great performers use.
Alberta Orff Executive, this day was a treat. Thank you for your many volunteer hours that made this professional development opportunity possible. I enjoyed the change of venue and the weekday scheduling of the event, as well as the Winspear flavor blended with the Orff approach. See you in 2017!