Parents of Lower and Middle School orchestra members were able to kill two birds with one stone on April 23. That’s a crude way of saying that they were privileged enough to attend the Lower and Middle School Orchestra concerts at the same time.
“My intention was really to have all three schools: Upper, Middle and Lower,” Yung-Fang Ludford, Middle School music teacher and orchestra director, said. Unfortunately, however, the Upper School Orchestra has 66 members, and the stage is crowded for their performance without the addition of 20 Lower Schoolers and 30 Middle Schoolers.
Ludford explained that the older girls enjoy seeing what the younger ones can do, and the younger girls get to see what is ahead if they continue with their instrument.
“I want it to be like a sisterhood of all three schools,” Ludford said.
Ludford has tried bringing selected Upper School players to perform for younger students, but her goal is to really have everyone play together.
The first joint spring concert was held three years ago, when Ludford asked Sunny D’Apice, Director of the Lower School Orchestra, if the Lower School would be interested in performing.
“The kids have so much fun because they get to see the next progression,” D’Apice said. “They feel really grown up playing in the auditorium.” Hoblitzelle Auditorium played host to the event, and Purnell Gallery housed the reception afterward.
“I think the Lower Schoolers can really see what Middle School is like because it’s really different from what they do,” said eighth grader and Middle School Orchestra President Kendra Mysore.
The Lower School Orchestra also performed on April 22 at the Lower School Fine Arts Festival. And each December, they perform with the Lower School Chorus at Northpark.
“It gives every girl a chance to hold an instrument and play it and realize it’s fun, and the most fun is playing together,” said D’Apice.
Pre-Kindergarten students learn about being big sisters
In Brenda Bennett’s pre-kindergarten class, February was dedicated to babies: planning for them and caring for them. The lesson was sparked by two of her students, who have expectant mothers. After all, having two expectant mothers means two expectant big-sisters, and that’s a big responsibility.The unit started with a “Peek-A-Boo” slide show made of baby pictures from both the girls and the teachers. The class tried to guess who each baby was. Next, teachers Bennett and Teaching Assistant Lauren Barnett read books with the class to learn how to plan for their arrival.
The class was given three presentations from various adults about babies. The first was an in-house field trip to second grade teacher Martha Wieser’s classroom. Weiser is expecting a baby in May, so she shared a PowerPoint about how to be a responsible big sister.
“One of the things I learned is that you have to be really careful with babies,” Pre-K student Hannah said.
Hannah’s mother and Hockaday’s Controller in the Business Office, JT Coats, visited the classroom next to explain how her family was getting ready for her baby, a boy who was born in March.
Hannah’s favorite part of the unit was “when I told the class some of the things that I do to help my brother.” Because of what she learned during the unit, Hannah was able to explain: “when he needs his pacifier, I’ll put it in, and sometimes I protect him when my mom is away.”
Finally, Bennet contacted Dr. LaTasha Jarrett, mother to Pre-K Hockadaisy Madison. “She brought several wonderful doctor tools: belly-jelly for the sonograms, a stethoscope to listen to the baby heart, blood pressure monitor for the baby, many charts showing the different stages of fetal development along with some “real-like” babies at different gestational ages,” Bennet said.
Clad in a surgical uniform which she normally uses in the delivery room, Jarrett explained how she keeps the expectant mothers healthy and gave the class a “new-baby” kit for the home-living “dramatic-play” center. The kit has become “a revered addition,” said Bennett.
At the end of February, the girls sang “Hush Little Baby” during the Monday Gathering to show the rest of the Lower School what they had learned during their first unit on babies.
First grade pen pals make new friends
When first grade teachers like Kathy Hogan plan their lessons at the beginning of each school year, they often reference old books or discover activities on the internet. But Hogan instead discussed the matter with her sister, Rosemary Fougerousse, a first grade teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Dallas.“We were talking about our first grade classes at the beginning of the year and what writing assignments we had planned,” Hogan said.
That’s when the siblings thought of having their students pair up as pen-pals to practice their letter writing. It culminated with the children from OLPH meeting their pen-pals at Hockaday on April 13.
The students from OLPH participated in many activities with the Hockaday first graders. One stemmed from the first grade cavern trip on March 28 when the students noticed numerous patches of bluebonnets while they were driving—when the OLPH students arrived, the first graders read The Legend of the Bluebonnet.
“My favorite part was making the bluebonnets,” first grader Avery said. Each student finger-painted their own picture. Then the visiting students taught the Hockadaises a song and dance.
Because many of OLPH students speak Spanish, they brought books, written in Spanish and English, for the Hockaday first grade girls.
“We went on the swings together. That’s my favorite thing,” Avery said.
Other activities included the release of three butterflies into the Hockaday butterfly garden by the pen-pals, the attendance of the pen-pals during the first grade foreign language classes and the pen-pals going together to lunch and to the playground.
“The children had a great experience and were holding hands by the end of our visit!” Hogan said.
Parents and students enjoy creativity at arts festival
The jeopardy clue: Occurring only once every two years, it involves Kindergarten and Primer girls playing the xylophone and singing along with their music teacher. Answer: What is the Lower School Fine Arts Festival?This performance, along with shows from each grade level and a concert by the fourth grade handbell choir, took place during the Lower School Fine Arts Festival on April 22.
“I thought that it was fun because you get to see other people’s art and you get to hear what they play, like the orchestra and handbells,” fourth grader Antonia said. “My favorite part was the art and the kindergarteners.”
The Lower School and Middle School alternate years hosting Grandparents’ Day for their students. This year, the second annual festival ran as smoothly as the ring of a handbell.
That is, of course, unless the damper is on to make the bell ring with a staccato sound instead. Music teacher Denise Jones explained this concept, along with several others, to the small crowd attending the handbell choir’s concert at the festival.
The participating girls all choose to attend the Thursday rehearsals after school as it is not a required activity. An option does not yet exist, however, for fourth graders to continue playing the handbells as fifth graders and beyond, at least through Hockaday, so the Fine Arts Festival marked their final performance.
“My favorite part of playing an instrument is practicing and hearing the music. My mom always listens to it and says that I play beautifully,” said Antonia, who also plays violin in the Lower School Orchestra.
In terms of the handbells, she said, “I like how you don’t have to hit them really hard for them to play, and you can soften it and dampen it, but it sounds muffled on any other thing. It sounds like ringing, and it’s beautiful.”