The gymnasium, halls and classrooms at Mountview Elementary School were alive with the sound of music last week, when the school recorder groups, band students and Mountview Borderband took the stage for a Musical Extravaganza.
Principal Rick Miller directed two recorder groups from the school and provided a great demonstration on the differences between the sopranino, alto, tenor and bass recorders.
School District 27 band instructor Dena Baumann introduced the school band students and directed them in group, solo and duet pieces – fun, lively, entertaining tunes that showcased the students’ skill and engaged the audience.
Also on stage was the Mountview Borderband, made up of 35 Mountview students in grades 4 to 7 and a group of community musicians – Rick Kokesch on acoustic guitar, Mark Law on drums, Dan St. Amand on lead guitar, Ken Yarema on bass, Mackenzie Magnowski on fiddle and LeRae Haynes and Maddison Magnowski on piano.
Principal Rick Miller calls the Musical Extravaganza “incredible.”
“The crowd of over 150 parents, relatives and friends were treated to an excellent evening of very powerful music. Every staff member who saw it, parents, grandparents, and others in attendance loved it, as did all of the students!
“I continue to get very positive accolades from staff, parents and students,” Miller said.
“When I went to each of the classes the next day and asked about the concert, the kids loved it.”
For Mountview Borderband these concerts were the culmination of two months of fast-paced fine-tuning and high energy vocal practices for the kids.
Haynes went into the school for one hour a week, and in eight hours the kids learned eight songs.
Their song list included tunes by Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Hillary Duff, Mat Kearney and the Dixie Chicks, as well as three original tunes written by Haynes: The Frog, Hey Galahad and I’m Your Pet and You’re My Person.
“I thought the inclusion of Borderband to play with the kids was awesome. It so added to the quality and energy of the performance and the students learned how to work with others while making music,” Miller continued. “LeRae’s energy, enthusiasm and methods of engaging the students is very powerful and contagious.
“The only surprise to me was how well everyone performed and how well it all came together, especially as we never had a chance to practise together.
“This was truly a collaborative effort with a group of very willing and talented people.”
During the daytime concert in the gym, the group was three lines into Mat Kearney’s song Sooner or Later when the power went out.
The gym was instantly dark and all the electric instrument were silenced.
The kids didn’t miss a note, performing the whole song accompanied by drums and acoustic guitar, as well as enthusiastic clapping by the audience.
The evening concert ended with a special musical number directed by Baumann, featuring band students, recorder players and singers from the school, and several Borderband members.
The song was Is Somebody Singing written by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Ed Robertson from the Barenaked Ladies and played by Hadfield from the International Space Station.
Miller said that the finale, including all Grade 4-7 students and Mountview Borderband singing and playing instruments, was very powerful.
“There were many tears from parents in the crowd and the students all really enjoyed the opportunity to perform together,” he stated.
“I believe they really learned how powerful music is and exactly how much can be accomplished in a short period of time if you put the effort into it.
“I think that this concert will have a lasting effect on many students and it will spur them on to continue to enjoy and make music, both by using their voices and/or playing an instrument,” Miller said.
“What it means to the school is that we need to continue to support music in our school and look to build on our already active program to include even more students in future years.”