Monday, December 24, 2012

Successful Winter Program!!!

This year's program transported the family and friends of our K-2 students and 4th Grade Ensemble students to Santa's Workshop!  Some even traveled there from Texas!!! (More on that later)

For our program this year, we took at peak to see what happens when Santa gets really tired and happens to fall asleep just days before the big delivery date.  The program started with the Kindergarten students singing a song that announced the arrival of Santa himself.  Then, as he sat down in his favorite, comfy chair, three "elves" from the 4th Grade Ensemble brought him some cookies, hot cocoa and a blanket.  The 4th Grade Ensemble then sang him to sleep with a lullaby while some of the other "elves" held up signs to encourage the audience to be quiet.  This was followed by the entire K-2 ensemble singing about the fact that Santa was asleep and we shouldn't wake him up.

Now is when the fun and chaos began.  After falling asleep, all of the "toys" came to life and began singing songs.  They sang about Betty Beautiful coming to town, Toy Soldiers marching about and decorating with Trains and Engines as the Fantasy World came to life!

Once the toys demonstrate their fun and enjoyment for the season, and once the train had come through, the soldiers marched, the Betty Dolls danced and the Jack-in-the-box popped out, Santa woke up to know that something had been up.  He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and quickly fell back asleep.

It was an awesome show and all of your students performed awesomely!!!  I am proud of the hard work they put in and very proud of the music they presented.  Hug them all and tell them Thank You from Mr. G!!

Now for the other exciting news that came from the concert.  We have been working hard to find ways to involve the community and extended families more with our programs.  This year we took a step closer.  We still have some work to do to perfect the idea, but we are getting better.  Using the HD camera that was purchased for me by the Education Foundation last Spring, we attempted another live stream of the concert.  Last year we were able to do this, however the image was so jumpy that although the audio was pretty good, the video was unwatchable in my book.  We made some adjustments this year and things improved.

I have to first apologize for the fact that the live stream was about 30 minutes long, and about 15 minutes of it was the auditorium and the students filing in and taking the stage.  Once the show got underway, the video quality as well as the audio quality seem to be pretty good.  I was not able to watch it live (I was a little busy directing), so maybe the quality wasn't the same and I didn't know it, but then end quality is really pretty good.  If you wish to check out the live stream archive, please visit here to watch.  I have plans in place to improve on that portion for the next concert which I expect will be the High School Pops Concert.

What is even more exciting about the live stream is this...We estimated that there were from 600 - 700 people in attendance at the concert in person.  As soon as the concert was over, I checked the website with the live feed and saw that there were 216 views of the live stream.  Not all of those would be a single person, but instead, maybe a Grandma and a Grandpa.  So considering that, I would say that our concert touch somewhere between 900 and 1000 people!!!  We can't fit that many people in our auditorium and yet, they were able to see our students LIVE!!  I think that is very cool!

I was also told by some of the parents that they had people as far away as Texas who were logging in that night.  So not only did we have almost 1000 audience members, but we also had audience members from literally all the way across the United States!  We will be working hard to continue to improve this technology.  I sincerely hope that you will have patience as we grow into this new technology.  Also, if you happen to see anyone that you know is an Education Foundation board member, please thank them for providing technology to help make this happen.

Once again....Thank you for your students and your support.  I am extremely proud of the hard work they put forward and the program they performed.

May you all enjoy a special holiday season with your loved ones!

~Mr. G

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Earlier this month I was contacted to provide some holiday music for the residents at CALU Apartments in Fairfield, IA.  After talking with the students in the 4th Grade Ensemble at Washington Elementary, I had about 20 students volunteer to sing some of the music they were preparing for the Winter Program.

Right after school, these students were delivered by their parents to the apartment building where we gathered to sing the music we have worked on as well as some general carols to put everyone in the festive mood.  The residents were invited to sing along and we could definitely hear them joining in.

After the students sang, the residents were treated to a holiday feast that looked so good that the students began to drool over the pie.  :)

I was extremely proud of how well the students performed and everyone in attendance seemed very appreciative of their talents.

Thank you to all of the students who were able to make it to spread some Christmas Cheer!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

That special time has arrived once again!!!

That time that several students look forward to has once again arrived!!

Next week Tuesday, December 18th, is the Washington and Libertyville K-2 and 4th Grade Ensemble Winter Program.  The program will be presented at the High School Auditorium at 7:00 PM.  Please have your students arrive at the High School commons between 6:30 and 6:45.  This will give them time to gather by class and line up to begin the concert at 7:00.

At the conclusion of the concert, please allow a couple minutes for the students to exit the stage and hall, then please pick them up in the commons area from their teachers.  The only exception to this will be that the 4th Grade Ensemble students will stay in the auditorium and be dismissed with their parents from the auditorium when the younger students have left the area.

We are planning to try once again to LIVE STREAM our concert this year.  Last year was only a partial success.  We did get a live stream going, but I felt that it was so jumpy that it was unwatchable.  We have made some adjustments this year and hopefully we will have a much better experience for anyone who tries to watch our concert live on the web.  Having said that, it is still a work in progress, and even though we have taken steps to improve it, we will not know how well it will work until we try it.  So please have some patience with us as we try to bring this awesome experience to those who cannot come to our program.

To view the concert live, please go to the following address.  I will try to start the live feed a few minutes before 7:00 so that people have a chance to get set up before the program actually starts.  From my tests I have run recently, you might have to refresh a time or two if you don't see the video right away.  Once you do see the video, then you should be good to go.  I have posted more detailed instructions on a static page on my blog.  To see my instructions click here.

Thank you once again for your support and for the chance to work with your students.  They have worked hard putting this program together, and I hope you are excited to come to Santa's Workshop and see just what happens when an exhausted Santa falls asleep.

~Mr. G