Refreshing, Reflecting and Rejoicing!

Refreshing, Reflecting and Rejoicing!

  This fall has been an absolute whirlwind!  A full teaching schedule plus the additional work of grad school has meant that I am busier than ever.  There are so many things to be grateful for!  My dad is healthy – In September we celebrated the one year anniversary of his stem cell transplant.  He is fine and dandy and the tether linking him to M.D. Anderson is getting longer all the time… In fact, other than some maintenance blood work, he doesn’t have to go back to the doctor until May which seems like a light year to us after all the time he has spent there over the last few years. My teaching situation is awesome!  – For those of you in less than ideal situations, know that things can change!  We get better at what we do.  Those professional circumstances that are a trial to us change.   Hang on!  Having taught in a variety of situations from awesome to hardly bearable, I know how to appreciate what is good and I am so very thankful! Babies! – My best friend and my cousin both had babies within 1 week of each other this summer.  This week I got to spend time with each of them.  I love being “Aunt” Bonnie!  Time off! – For the last week I’ve let my mind go blank!  It’s been perfect!  This week I’m picking up a project or two…. I’m spending time with friends and doing only what seems like fun including some time updating my blog.  I’m hoping to create a reserve of posts to see me through some... read more
Choir Music I Love – 2

Choir Music I Love – 2

Kusimama by Jim Papoulis is one of those choral pieces that is both challenging and really fun to sing.  I’ve had 5th graders at two different schools with various degrees of choral singing experience sing this piece very successfully and with great joy.  It is a great teaching piece and one that I love. It’s also a real crowd pleaser!  The piano part is basic enough that even I can play it when needed and the song is a perfect opportunity to incorporate percussion instruments. Kusimama Like this:Like... read more
Choir Music I love – 1

Choir Music I love – 1

Winter Canon by Andy Beck is simply beautiful.  Not only is it beautiful, but it has my 5th graders talking.  Yesterday during dismissal, a couple of 5th grade choir members who also serve as Safety Patrol were telling me, “Mrs. McSpadden!  Everyone, and I mean everyone is talking about how beautifully we sang on Tuesday during rehearsal!”  This was stated with a ton of smiles.  They told me that Winter Canon was their favorite song this year…. and we are doing some really cool music. This is the song that has “hooked” my students into moving beyond singing some songs and into singing beautiful music together. Back in May we decided to use this song for several reasons.  The Tallis Canon which is the “canon” part of the Winter Canon is really great to use with a choir when you want to have them singing solfa.  I knew that I could introduce this song as our warm up in the beginning of the year. The melody for Bleak Midwinter was written by Gustov Holst.  We plan on studying “The Planets” later in the year and we want our students to be familiar with more than just that huge work. We needed a great piece that sounded winter-esque but we needed something that was not particular to a specific holiday.  Although Bleak Midwinter is a Christmas Carol, the only portion included in the Winter Canon are talking about snow. Being a 5th grade volunteer choir means that my students can sing a round in 2 parts with confidence and our 2-part singing is coming along nicely.  Although my students can do the 3... read more

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