Spotlight on Greenwood Elementary School’s Band and Orchestra

Greenwood Elementary School’s Band is comprised of fourth and fifth grade students who play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. The students meet once a cycle in small groups to learn the various aspects of tone production, music literacy, and rhythmic etudes on their instrument. Students start their first lesson learning how to assemble their instrument and advance throughout the year to being able to play beautiful music. The students also learn the historical importance of the various composers and events during their lives, as well as their connections to other art forms. When concert time is near, the students take all that they have learned in their lesson groups and rehearse together as one large ensemble, allowing the students to combine their part with the other instruments in the band to create complex harmonies and rhythms. The musical literature that the band explores includes folk repertoire, multicultural music, movie soundtracks, and classical arrangements of both traditional band and orchestra composers.

elementary school band performing for an audience

Greenwood Elementary School’s Orchestra is composed of students in third through fifth grades who play instruments from the string family; violin, viola,cello, and bass. The students meet in small groups once per cycle, and as a large group ensemble to prepare for concert performances. Students begin by learning the basics of sound production on their instrument, and then progress to establishing the correct right and left hand technique and then to more complex bow strokes and fingering patterns on all strings. In addition, a large emphasis is placed on learning to read music and having exposure to basic theory skills. The musical repertoire that is used in their development and concerts comes from many genres including: classical, American fiddle, mariachi, rock, and movie soundtracks. The instrumental program is a year-long commitment with concerts presented in January and May.

elementary school orchestra performing in front of an audience

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Greenwood Chorus and Orff Ensemble

On Tuesday, December 13, The Greenwood Elementary School Chorus and Orff Ensemble took the stage for two performances of their highly-anticipated winter concert. Both the day and the evening concerts were great successes, featuring eight songs, with topics ranging from Christmas and Hanukah, to the Winter Solstice and the beauty of December.

The Greenwood chorus is composed of a whopping 114 fourth and fifth grade students. The sheer number of students, combined with the ensemble’s dedication and preparedness, made for a powerful vocal performance. The students showed grace and musical sensitivity on slow ballads like Beautiful December, and displayed holiday spirit and sass during Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, which quickly became the group’s clear favorite in rehearsals.

The Orff Ensemble featured 15 dedicated students that arrived to school early one day per cycle to rehearse their 3 challenging pieces. The students showed off their excellent instrumental technique on xylophones and metallophones on pieces like Shalom Cheverim and the crowd favorite Linus and Lucy. A clear highlight of the concert was when the Orff Ensemble added Latin percussion instruments and rhythms to create an upbeat accompaniment for the chorus’ version of Up on the Housetop.

Both groups worked hard to prepare the music starting way back in September. They will take a few hard-earned weeks off before doing it all again to learn new music for the Spring Concert on May 9th at Greenwood.

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