This fall has been one of the busiest and most rewarding of my professional career. At school (Price Lab/NU), I had three concerts this month (3-5, 6-8, & 9-12), took two students through the All-State audition procedure (one was recalled, one accepted), helped the sixth grade and fifth grade write a rap and a song (respectively) about the Leader in Me initiative (Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits adapted for children) and still managed to do report cards, planning, and mentoring six college students through a field experience!
Outside of school has also been busy! At the Unitarian Universalist Society, I continue to lead a children’s choir, an adult choir, and a strings band, with three rehearsals and a service every week.
In September, my colleague Aaron Hansen and I co-presented an Orff Schulwerk workshop for the Sioux Valley chapter. That was an exciting first! Aaron presented on primarily movement topics, and let me tackle some big “process” ideas, and we managed to tie it all together beautifully. Participants were surprised when we told them this was our first joint session!
This month, I was invited to direct the fifth graders at the Dubuque Catholic Schools Choral Festival. Again, an exciting first! I had never guest-conducted a group of children before. I had two hours to work with the students on three pieces, plus I got to conduct a combined piece with the fifth grade, the middle school students, and two college choirs (Loras & Clark)! Definitely a fulfilling professional experience. I hope to do more children’s choirs in the future.
So what’s next? At the American Orff Schulwerk Association conference next month, I will be presenting with my good friends from the BW Orff Course, Laura Webster and Michelle Przybylowski. We are presenting a tale and background information on the Eastern Woodland Native American people of Pennsylvania. The story is Rainbow Crow, and my part of the session is guiding the creation of an original musical composition based on some of the musical traditions and styles of the Native American tribes. Can’t wait!