PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

October 5, 2016

A warm fall greeting to all the families of BSI! The kids are settling into their new school year and it’s already October. Here’s what’s happening in music:

Our K-3 students have been learning “It’s a Beautiful Day” by Greg Scelsa of “Greg & Steve.” They are a dynamic duo that writes great songs for kids. We’ve been sharing the “beautiful days” we had this summer and even acting them out. We’ve used our imagination to climb up a tree with David Mc Cord through his poem, “Every Time I Climb a Tree.” We played “Poetry Freeze” where I do a line of the poem with action, and then freeze and the kids repeat and freeze. Then we danced under the apple tree with a singing/movement game called “I Go Up the Apple Tree.”

The 4th and 5th graders have been discussing our presidential election and asking themselves, “What would I do if….I ruled the world?” Charles Dickens wrote a book called “The Pickwick Club” that was turned into a musical called “Pickwick.” The Pickwick Club is a group of wealthy men who decide that they will tour all of England documenting human behavior. In Dickens’ story, Mr. Pickwick and his group come upon some campaigning candidates in a town square. It is clear to the town residents that both candidates are making promises that they can’t keep. Someone asks Mr. Pickwick what HE would do if HE ruled the world. And hence comes the song “If I Ruled The World!” sung by Harry Secombe. We’ve been singing the song and arranging it. One way arrangers find out how a song will sound best is by deciding how many voices will sing specific parts. So we’ve been singing the song, “If I Ruled The World” assigning phrases to different groups. We even had a few quartets! It’s such a beautiful, hopeful and timely song for our world and it brings me such joy to hear the kids sing it!

The upcoming election also has us thinking about the things we appreciate about our country and how we hope that our elected leader can help us hold on to all that we appreciate. So we learned about Katherine Lee Bates and her trip up to Pikes Peak in Colorado that inspired her to write her song “America, the Beautiful!” I never grow tired of hearing kids sing that song.

And of course, we’ve all been reviewing some of our favorite songs from last year that include many from our “Celebrate the Sixties” concert.

We are off to a great start this fall and we hope you are, too! Enjoy the beauty of the season.