Thursday, April 28, 2011

Libertyville and Washington 3rd and 4th Graders are taking the show on the road!

Load the equipment.....
Board the tour bus....
Line up the security units and body guards.....
Or maybe just make sure your shoes are tied and get on the school bus......

We are hitting the road for our Jazz Tour...
Or at least we will be singing for many community members in our local area.

During the week of May 9th, which happens to be Nurses Appreciation Week as well as Nursing Home Appreciation week, the 3rd and 4th grade students will be doing several "sing-outs" using the music from our Spring Concert that was performed a couple weeks ago.

On Tuesday, May 10th, the students from both schools will be joining forces in song to bring the music from our concert to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.  The students were invited to come and sing to provide a little entertainment for a luncheon.  They should begin their performance around 12:45 and be completed by 1:15.  Buses will be loading approximately 15 or 20 minutes prior to arrival at the performance site. 

Then the following day, but schools will combine for a 10:30 performance at Sunnybrook Living Care Center located in the old hospital building.  This performance will last approximately a half hour, at which time the Washington students will return to Washington and the Libertyville students will take the bus to Sunnybrook Assited Living Center on the West End of Fairfield where they will perform the concert music by themselves at approximately 11:15, and will return to school by noon.

The last performance will  be the Washington students only, and they will be visiting the residents at Parkview Care Center on the East end of town.  This performance will be approximately 10:00 and end approximately 10:30, at which time the students will return to school.

The students have worked very hard on this program and I feel as if we are still riding the wave of appreciation that was expressed to us in the time since the program.  When they work that hard and sound that good, it is awesome that we are able to share this program many times over.

Thank you for your support....I am very proud of YOUR students.
~Mr. G

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oompa Loompa Rehearsals Begin......

The Oompa Loompa Chorus 1 rehearsals will begin on Thursday, April 28th at the Middle School.  Chorus 1 includes students in grades 1 - 8.  Monday night is primarily a Chorus 2 night, however they are going over the same music we will go over in the after school rehearsals, so the Chorus 1 members are completely welcome to join the Monday night rehearsals.

After Thursday, the schedule will be as follows:

     Mondays.....3:30 - 4:00 in the Pence Elementary Music Room
                         7:00 - 7:30 pm in the High School Band Room
     Tuesdays.....3:30 - 4:00 in the Washington Elementary Music Room
     Thursdays....3:30 - 4:00 in the 5th Grade Music room a the Middle School

This schedule provides four opportunities for each student to come to a practice.  It is the desire of the directors that they attend ONE of the four rehearsals each week.  If your student wishes to attend more than one rehearsal, that is totally acceptable and appreciated.  These multiple times are intended to accommodate busy schedules without requiring only one possible time for everyone to schedule around.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Welcoming a New Blogger!!!

I want to take a second to welcome a new music blogger....Mrs. Keller has started a blog!!  I would like to invite and encourage everyone to check out her music blog and support her new form of communication.  Shortly there will be information on her blog in regard to the Pence Spring Program.

Check out her blog and enjoy her posts.

~Mr. G

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Concert Recap

The 3rd and 4th grade students from Libertyville and Washington Elementary Schools presented their Spring Program on Monday, April 18th at the Sondheim Center just off the square in Fairfield.  The students presented a program that gave their audience a brief history lesson of Jazz and some of the musical styles that grew out of Jazz such as the Blues and Swing.

Each grade had a couple songs on their own that fit into the history of Jazz.  Besides the 3rd and 4th grade students, students involved in the 4th Grade Ensemble from each school also had a couple songs.  The entire students assembly also combined on several songs.  In between several of the songs, many students got the opportunity to come down front and read some of the history to the audience.

The show teased the ears with sounds of each type of music, but the senses were also satisfied by the giant projection screen behind the students.  The slideshow used for the program announced each song selection, as well as providing visual pictures of many of the great Jazz composers and performers that were mentioned throughout the program.  Many of the most well-known composer/performers were highlighted by some of the readers and were mentioned again in one of the final numbers that had a Jazz twist to a very famous Beethoven piece.  Ode To Jazzers listed 54 different composers/performers who influenced Jazz.

Besides our students from Libertyville and Washington not only shared the stage with each other, but they also shared the stage with one of the most well-known Jazzers…..Louis Armstrong.  Armstrong was born in 1901 and died in 1971.  The final song performed in the program was “What a Wonderful World” written and originally performed by Armstrong himself.  The students performed this piece on the stage as a slideshow of pictures from their individual classes played behind them for their parents to see.  The pictures were taken in the classroom, at recess and other places such as field trips.  Now, you may ask, just how did they share the stage with Mr. Armstrong?  During the final song there was a trumpet solo.  As you can see in the accompanying video below, Satcmo joined the students on the projection screen in a video as he played the solo to accompany our students.  What you can do with technology can really be inspiring.

Mr. Grunwald is very proud of the students and how they performed.  Many positive comments have been made by parents and shared with their students.  Mr. Grunwald wishes to thank all of the parents and guardians for their interest and support of their students musical endeavors. 

I have also included a clip of the second song on the program, which was the first combined song on the program as well as the final song in its entirety.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3rd and 4th Grade Sharing the stage with Greatness.....

For any of you who wonder just how it is possible that our third and fourth grade students shared the stage with a great trumpet player like Louis Armstrong, click on the video below.

For those of you who attended the concert on April 18th and really enjoyed the final slideshow and want to see it on the video below.

Lastly, for those who might not have been at the concert and just heard about the final slideshow or want to see something fun you can do with technology... click the video below.

The following video is a portion of the powerpoint presentation that I created for our 3rd and 4th grade Spring Concert based on the history of Jazz.  The Louis Armstrong solo is not a perfect match, but considering what it took to get him in this presentation and have our students share the stage with him, I think it worked out pretty well.  Even if you are just interested in the student pictures only, enjoy.  The music used is the accompaniment track that was used and does not include the voices of the students.  I might take some time to add them in the future.

Thanks for visiting,
~Mr. G

Monday, April 18, 2011

Extremely Proud!!!

I am very very very proud of the 3rd and 4th grade students that participated in the concert tonight!!!  You guys did wonderful and even when your director makes a huge followed him!!! That shows how well you stayed focused and trusted me.  Thank you to you all.

Also proud to say thank you to Mr. Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) for traveling as far as he did tonight to play a trumpet solo for our final song!

Thank you to FPAC for providing people to help record our program and transfer it to DVD!!

Even though the program is over, I am still really pumped about the concert.

Please feel free to leave comments below about the concert if you liked the concert.  These comments will be shared with the students as they come in.  I hope to hear comments from many of you.

Thank you for your time, students and support!!

~Mr. G

Jazz: A Swingin' Celebration

Tonight is the night!!!

The wait is over!!!

Tonight at the Sondheim Center...7:00 PM,
the students of the third and fourth grades at 
Libertyville and Washington Elementary Schools
will be presenting their Spring Program
"Jazz:  A Swingin' Celebration"

Come see our youth present a brief history of Jazz, 
Blues and Swing.
We are excited to have you come tonight.  
Admission is Free

7:00 PM
Sondheim Center
Just off the Fairfield Square

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WOOOO HOOOOO!!!!! 600th visitor!!!!!

What an exciting day!!!!! 
600th page visit!!!!!
If I knew who you were and I had a little more money, I would buy you a New Car!!!!
However, in all seriousness.....I am extremely happy to see the 600th Page Visit today!!!
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you found some fun and useful information and will tell others as well as come back for more!!
Thank You!!
~Mr. G 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Washington and Libertyville Elementarys to Present their Spring Concert

The third and fourth grade students of both Washington and Libertyville Elementary Schools will be combining forces to present their 2011 Spring Concert "Jazz: A Swingin’ Celebration".  This is a program that will bring some songs to the audience that will have them leaving the Sondheim Center, in Fairfield, snapping their fingers and tapping their toes. 

The audience will be treated to a brief history of a truly American form of music, Jazz.  The Blues, Swing, Dixieland......all of these will help show and shape the historical journey of Jazz in America.  Songs include pieces written just for this particular show such as Jazz, Jazz is on its Way and The Blues.  Besides the particular selections, there will also be a few recognizable, time-tested favorites from artists such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.

So, be cool cats and make sure to clear your schedules, shake your blues, and come hear the works and efforts of our Third Grade students, Fourth Grade students and the Fourth Grade Ensemble.

The concert will be Monday, April 18th at 7:00 PM.  Admission is free.  If you are bringing students to perform, they should be at the Sondheim Center at 6:30.  The program should be approximately 45 minutes.  Come and Enjoy!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Happenings

Two Big Announcements to start everything off....

Monday and Tuesday,
April 4 & 5, 7:00 PM
Auditions for "Willy Wonka"

Auditions will be held in the High School Auditorium beginning at 7:00 PM.  For those interested in the chorus, please come to hear about the production and practice schedules.  Then, at 7:30, any Middle School Student wishing to audition for a Character Role will audition.  Adults may audition from 8:00 - 8:30.


Libertyville and Washington Elementary
3rd and 4th Grade
Spring Program
Monday, April 18th at 7:00 PM
Sondheim Center, Fairfield, IA  

K-2 General Music

The students in Kindergarten through Second grade have been working on several individual musical aspects.  The Kinders have been working on Piano, Forte and other dynamics.  The First Grade students have been working on clapping and counting Quarter Notes and Quarter Rests.  The Second Grade students have spent a lot of time recently working on the notes of the staff.  They have really mastered the Treble Clef notes, but we have just started the Bass Clef notes and that is a little more of a challenge.

All three of these grades are beginning to work on music to help tell a story.  The Kinders will soon be listening to some circus music and we will be having our own little circus in the room.  I am planning on video taping this and posting it at some point....please watch for our circus.  The First Grade students have just begun discussing the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff".  We will be identifying some instrument families with this music and listening to and discussing how each of the families or individual instruments help the listener follow the story without having to rely on words.  Lastly, the Second Grade students began a "Lion Hunt" this week.  We will be working a little more with the idea of music telling a story as we discuss and listen to the story of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice".  We will be doing some art-type projects to go along with the story as we learn to listen to the music and understand the story without words.
For the Second Grade students, I would appreciate it if you could send the cardboard tubes from your toilet paper rolls to school with them.  I would like to collect them because we will be making some binoculars to take with us on our "Lion Hunt".

Grades 3 and 4, and 4th Grade Ensemble

The 3rd and 4th grade students have been working quite hard to prepare for their Spring Concert.  It is hard to believe that we are down to our last 4 rehearsals in order to pull this show together.  I know that I am nervous, and there may be some students who are also nervous.  Nerves are good though as long as they don't get the best of us.  Instead, they help us to remain alert and perform to the best of our abilities.

The program will take place at the Sondheim Center in the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.  A letter has been sent home with all 3rd and 4th grade students explaining concert expectations and arrival times.  I would like the students to dress in nice clothes and to report at 6:30 for the 7:00 show.  The show will be under an hour in length and the students can then be picked up after the show is done.  Please see the note that was sent home for more specifics.  If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail me at

Other happenings with the students in grades K-4....
The First - Third Grade students will be attending a performance of "Into the Woods" by Way Off Broadway this Friday in the afternoon.
The Fourth Grade students will have two 30 minute assemblies this week with members of the Iowa Symphony Orchestra.  They will be bringing down members of the Brass Section one time and members of the Woodwind Section the other time.  Last year they brought down several members of their string sections to play for the students.

Fifth Grade Music and Ensemble

Fifth grade has been doing a little more work with composers recently.  We have finished discussing Chopin and will be starting Richard Wagner.  Two of his most recognizable pieces are "The Ride of the Valkyries" and the "Bridal Chorus" from the Romantic Opera Lohengrin.

 Something I would like to try with these students is a unit on "Movie Music".  Not necessarily "Who wrote the music for Star Wars?" or "What movie was this theme written for?".  Instead, I would love to have a discussion about how the music in a movie helps to enhance the mood being portrayed in the movie and how it helps to move the plot. We have all watch scary parts of movies and can recognize that the music puts us a little more on edge.  I have some examples of the same movie clip using three totally different types of background music.  Part of this discussion would be how each one works with the clip, yet, how does it change the meaning of the clip for the person watching the movie.  This will be exciting for the students if I can work this in this month.

Fifth Grade Ensemble has been working hard each week.  We now have three songs that we are feeling pretty comfortable with.  We still have some time before our concert and will hopefully be working on a fourth song.  It is also my intention that towards the end of the year we will take our music and hit the road.  I would like to take them to sing at one or to of the housing complexes in town for some of Fairfield's Senior population.  They always seem to enjoy a visit from students, and I think it is good for our students to sing for them and interact with the senior members of our community.


This may seem like a short update, but time is flying and we are doing some highly concentrated activities right now.  Thanks for coming back time and again to keep up on what your students are doing in music.....your support is greatly appreciated!!

~Mr. G