Term 4: It’s all Go!

Welcome back for Term 4, and goodness, how did we get here so quickly? Every term is packed with stimulating events, but Term 4 has extra tinsel on top as we ‘clock off’ the weeks towards the end of year holidays. This term offers some wonderful opportunities for our musicians to shine and these include the End of Year Instrumental Music Assembly and Concert, the Year 6 Graduation, our Final Assembly, and an exciting new event for our community: the School Expo combined with a picnic and Holiday Sing-Along. First up though, we are preparing for a Specialists Assembly in Week 4.

The Year 6s dance the Nut Bush

We have enjoyed many assemblies featuring heart warming whole school and community singing this year, so, for the Specialists Assembly, we look forward to a whole school dance. Inspired by the new world record set in Birdsville for the most dancers to dance the Nut Bush, over 5,800 dancers, and especially to honour the great legacy of Tina Turner, we are all shaping up our first ever whole school community Nut Bush. If it’s been while since you last danced this, ask your children to run you through the moves! Our super Preps have a ‘Funky 1 step’ version, so, instead of repeating the side step, back step and knee moves, they dance each move once at half speed in time with the music. I like this version, especially by the time I stagger to my last music session of the week 🙂 and if your a ‘daily step counter’, pop your phone in your pocket before you practice! Please join us for this assembly and dance the Nut Bush. We won’t crack the numbers of Birdsville, or ask you to dance for ten minutes like they did for the world record, but we will have bonza fun!

In contrast with the Nut Bush dance, the year 5s will present the traditional dance the ‘Gay Gordons’. There are many ways of describing this ‘progressive’ dance where multiple couples form a circle, dance a set of steps and then, with an under arm pass, one partner progresses back to partner up with the partner behind them! The music for the Gay Gordons originated in the 1890s and the steps to this Scottish Country Dance emerged after 1900. The tradition of Country Dancing reaches back to the 1500s and include many of the dance steps that we are familiar with through Square Dancing and Line Dancing. Particular dance steps, with their rhythms and styles, inspired the composition of countless ‘Suites’ of music, which emerged in France during the 1400s. So if you are learning to play a Gigue, Sarabande or an Allemande on your instrument, you are playing dance music. One thing is for sure though, it helps to be very confident about which of your arms and legs are on your left or your right. It’s almost as confusing as forwards and backwards, clockwise and counterclockwise!

And, segue to our rhythm stick games! We have continued with these progressive stick passing games, which we started last Term, in all the Neighbourhoods from Prep to Yr 4/5s. Each of these games comes with any number of different challenges when working in a group of around 24 students, all seated on the floor in a circle. My challenge is to find the simplest and clearest language to ‘call’ the instructions. ‘Pick up you red stick in your right hand. Pass it over your own blue stick (in front of you on the floor), and place it in front of the person on your left.’ Sometimes we chant the instructions so that we can ‘self diagnose’ where any confusions may be. Patience, focus, and setting up your neighbour for success by placing the stick perfectly in front of them, were identified by the students as being behaviours that would help the group achieve success. The group would then be able to increase the speed and accuracy of the resulting percussive beat of the sticks on the floor. When this was looking and sounding great, we changed direction for some blue stick action by passing the sticks counterclockwise around the circle. The students commented that for almost all of them, this was challenging because they were not using their leading hand, but it was a relief for our left handed students!

We are very excited to be planning a big community event for Tuesday December 12th. It’s always a delight to welcome families to our school Expos to visit the Neighbourhoods and share in the students’ learning, and to invite younger siblings to the African Drumming Circle to enjoy exploring the djembe drums. This year, our expo will include a family community picnic with entertainment. We are thrilled that Eddie Perfect has accepted our invitation to not only MC this event, but to also work with the students to compose a new song which will express their thoughts and excitement about all the celebrations that make the end of the year so special. It is great to have Eddie’s expertise and energy to also draw together musicians from our parent community to form a band which will accompany us all as we sing seasonal songs and clear the air with a rousing finale… Please, if you have seen the Compass notice inviting you to join the parent Band, do please get in touch if you would like to dust off your instrument and join in. You don’t need to be Liberace or a ‘slow hand’ on the guitar 🙂

Across the Neighbourhoods, we have other projects and preparations brewing. The Preps are rehearsing songs to perform for the Preps of 2024, and we have decided to sing songs which these visiting children will know: You are My Sunshine and The Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Across in Year 12 Ngh2, the students are creating animations with story boards more fantastic than I could ever imagine. I’m delighted to be a part of this inquiry to help the students create the sound worlds for their animations. We have been exploring the how to create the expressive language of pigs (no english allowed), how to sound a stampede of tropical animals, and of course the touch-down sound of a rocket landing on Mars sounds like a slamming door! And, our wonderful Year 6s are brainstorming dreams and ideas for their Graduation Song. It’s all ‘Go’! Many thanks to all for a super start to the Term, and enjoy the next couple of weeks. Cheerio, Deb

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