Fabulous 5th Grade Jazz Band

5th grade jazz band performing in the cafeteria.We were hearing music all around the school. We wondered what it was. We  listened to the beautiful sounds of the trumpets, piano and drums and even more instruments. We decided to investigate where the sound was coming from and discovered it was Mrs. Berry and the Jazz Band! We thought we would interview Mrs. Barry to learn more

We wondered why Chickering School has a Jazz Band. She shared, “I wanted to allow 5th grade kids who wanted to have more of a musical challenge and to improvise, to play that style of music.” Mrs. Barry wanted the students to be prepared for 6th grade if they wanted to play for the Jazz Band, called the Eclipse.

We have been hearing all the instruments together. Picture highlighting the instruments played in the Jazz band.But, we couldn’t tell what instruments they were playing. So we asked Mrs. Barry what instruments they played. She shared,  “All the instruments in the regular band, from flutes all the way down to trombones and everything in between. We also get to add, guitar, piano and drum set.”

Then we wandered how Mrs. Barry got all the instruments for Jazz band. She quoted “Well, Luckily I didn’t have to buy anything; a lot of it was already here. Before I came to Chickering we already had a great drum set. All the other instruments the kids either the kids provide them or rent them, Yeah, so luckily we don’t have to buy anything.”

We wondered how many students were in the Jazz Band.  She shared, “I’d say we have about twenty-five kids in the Jazz Band.”

Who plays in the Jazz Band and is there a limit to the number kids who may play in the Jazz Band? She answered “We have only fifth graders and there’s really no limit, I keep it open. It’s not an audition group, it’s for anybody who wants to do it. It is a little challenge because we meet before school, unfortunately some students that it might just be a little tricky for them to get here but we try to work out a carpool if we need but there’s really no limit.” 

We wondered how Mrs. Barry decides what music to play in the Jazz Band. She relayed, “Well, I like to pick a Rock piece or, of course, a Jazz piece, so one that is fun to play has more syncopated rhythms but ones that I know that the students can play because this music is more challenging and I want to be sure I don’t pick something that is too hard for them to be able to do. Sometimes I have to adjust a little bit depending on what I pick.”

We wanted to know if she played in a Jazz Band when she was a student.  She said “I did play in a Jazz Band when I was in Middle School and when I was in High School. And I played piano.”

What was her favorite piece of music. She shared, “I remember playing Twenty-Five or Six to Four by Chicago that was one we really liked to play. And there was another one named, Weekend in Monaco and we played that at the high school and that was a really fun piece.”

When we left school, we thought the music was so good. We could listen to it again, a thousand times over and over!!!

Musical Winter Wonderland

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Every December, a special celebration, called the Winter Concert, happens at Chickering School. Following the success of the concert, we chatted with our band and music teachers. Please sit back and enjoy our interview and Animoto.


Reported by Olivia, Katana, Caden, and Rachel

Do Re Me … Mrs. Law-Linck’s Music Class

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Chickering Student Radio

Music is wafting from our music room and stage with our new music teacher, Mrs. Law-Linck. She teaches music with instruments and movement as well as Chorus to Grades 3, 4, and 5. We hope you enjoy listening to our chat with Mrs. Law-Linck.

Meet Mrs. Law-Linck

[The music you heard in the podcast are exerpts from a 4th/5th grade chorus practice.]

The Name Game

Reported by Liza and Emily

Kindergarten Performance

Have you ever heard of the song, Oh, Mr. Sun? Well, the Chickering kindergartners do! On May 30th, 2014, it was one of the 11 songs the kindergarten classes sang in their performance. The crowd was mostly made up of parents, siblings, relatives and some Chickering Reporters, too. It was amazing how well these kindergarteners can sing and dance, with the help of Ms Pappas and Ms Conklin, a high school senior.

Playbill for the Kindergarten Performance

The songs they sing are what they learned throughout the year. They start learning their songs on the very first day of school. When you are teaching kindergarteners you can only teach them a little bit of a song at a time, then you have to repeat it for at least three weeks. Ms Pappas says it was a challenge, at first, when she started teaching kindergarten, but then she became used to it. Ms Pappas teaches the kindergarteners what each word in the songs means. Most children want to perform, but a couple do not want too. They have a choice of sitting with their parents, or performing the songs. One or two students don’t participate every year, but they are really listening very closely. Most Kindergarten students have a beautiful voice they don’t even know about! People underestimate what they can do sometimes, shared Ms Pappas. The kindergarten performance is an annual event under Ms Pappas’ direction.

Reported by Abby, Ava B. and Bethany

Celebrating the Arts!

Sign and self-portrait boxes at the school entrance for Art's Night 2014.Do you know what we do with all our art after we finish it? We don’t just take it home, we celebrate it! On this special night the Arts are presented in 3 ways. One is putting up paintings and sculptures, which is done by Mrs. Pelletier, another is displaying children’s projects on the computers, done by Mr. Harte, and the last is sharing Chickering School’s fabulous musicians and chorus, with the help of Ms Pappas and Mrs. Barry. We interviewed all the teachers involved in this occasion. The 3 questions we asked gave us details on what they like about Arts’ Night, what they would change, and how they prepare for the evening. It’s time to celebrate the Arts!

What is your favorite part of Arts’ Night and why? Mrs. Barry and Ms Pappas, the music teachers, both said their favorite part was having their Art being a celebration. They and the students worked hard all year, so they deserve at least one night to show off what they had taught our students. Mrs. Pelletier answered that she likes how the students work so hard all year for this very night, to let family and friends see their artwork and for them to take it home with them.Parents and students viewing the computer projects at Art's Night 2014. Mr. Harte mostly enjoys watching families come in and appreciate their children’s hard work and art creations.

If you could change one thing about Arts’ Night, what would it be and why? Again, both the music teachers thought the same thing. They both would love a larger and better auditorium, because they want their music to be shown in an auditorium with less echo, not a hot, stuffy, crowded gym. They want real seats or movie-style seats, not the cafeteria benches. Mrs. Pelletier wishes Arts’ Night was on a cooler day, because Arts’ Night always seems lands on a hot day. One ‘con’ to that idea is that if Arts’ Night was earlier in the year, the students wouldn’t have as much artwork in their portfolios. Mr. Harte would like it if he could have a larger area to show off his pupils’ work. Even though he only has first and second graders’ work being displayed, he still thinks the computer lab is small with such a lot of people!

Picture of Chorus and Band in the Gym at the beginning of the Art's Night music performances.How do you prepare for Arts’ Night? Ms. Barry spends a lot of her time helping 4th and 5th grade students practice their instruments or strings. She teaches them little by little instead of giving them a truckload of notes on the first day and practicing them everyday. Ms Pappas prepares for the occasion the whole summer! She admits that she spends over 40 hours finding the perfect music. That’s almost two days straight! Her technique is if the song get stuck in her head all day, it’s good! Mr. Harte’s job is to make sure everyone’s projects are finished. After that, he makes it easy for parents to find their children’s work by logging on to all the computers and having the projects ready.

We are very fortunate to have the special Art programs we have, here at Chickering. They are so fabulous, they deserve a celebration. If it weren’t for Mrs. Pelletier, the art teacher, Mr. Harte, the technology teacher, and Ms Pappas and Mrs. Barry, the music teachers, this special night wouldn’t be possible. It’s Spring – the time to celebrate the Arts of Chickering School!

Reported by Ellie, Lauren, and Ryan

Chickering Chorus Rocks!

Every Wednesday, we hear “Mommy made me mash my M&M’s”. What could that be? It’s Chickering Chorus warming up for their voices. A group of 4th and 5th graders rehearse for their next concert while their classmates are doing morning work on Wednesdays. The 3rd graders practice on Tuesdays during their lunch-recess. All of their beautiful voices ring on the stage of Chickering School.

The leaders of Chickering Chorus are our very own music teachers, Ms Pappas, and when she is absent, our band teacher Mrs. Barry substitutes. Mrs. Barry plays the piano for the Chorus when they perform in front of the school and town. Ms Pappas plays the piano while the Chorus practices. We interviewed both of these teachers to see what happens and what Chorus is like.

One of the questions that we asked both, Mrs. Barry and Ms Pappas, is what is chorus like? Ms Pappas answered this question by saying what Chorus used to be like. For instance she said that Chorus used to be about 40-50 minutes long and that it was really early in the morning so sometimes they even had breakfast. She also said that the Chorus used to get to school and have time to warm up their voices and bodies. Some of the things that Mrs. Barry said, …”in one word Chorus is fun. It is a chance to learn to sing and develop your voice.” She also said you get to learn different languages and lots of different types of songs. Finally, she said that it is a chance to sing with your peers and sing different parts together as a family. The main answer that both teachers gave is that Chorus is really fun for everyone including them and they think of the Chorus as one big happy family.


Reported by Addie, Will G., and Calvin

A Night to Remember!

Vertical sign showing the words Art against a black background.There was excitement in the air as people of all ages arrived at Art’s Night. Visitors were greeted with an explosion of color. Art’s Night is a time when our students showcase their singing, playing, drawing, and painting. Celebrating “the Arts”! We interviewed Mrs. Barry, instrument teacher, Mr. Harte, technology integrator, Ms Pappas, music teacher, and Mrs. Pelletier, visual art teacher, who are responsible for organizing Art’s Night. We asked them why do we have Art’s Night? They all agreed that it is a time for families to view all the wonderful “Art” created during the year. All students showcase how they have learned to play instrument’s, sing, paint, draw and create with technology. We asked what they like about Art’s Night. They responded “it makes the building feel alive,” “kids, parents, grandparents enjoy the arts,” and “loves to see how excited their students get to play and sing for others.” We asked Mrs. Pellitier why the format for Art’s Night changed this year. She explained that “they wanted to try something different” and “they decided that the format should be theme-based: some variations of a self-portrait”. We asked Mr. Harte what projects were being shown in the computer lab. He shared “in grade one, they created an ‘All About Me’ KidPix slideshow about what they like — five slides long and it took five weeks to create then 30 sec. to view. Grade two created a PowerPoint, which is also an ‘All About Me’ but about their life; past, present, future — learning how to add transitions and customs animations”. These students also presented a “growing plant” slideshow — made with Animationish and shared as a QuickTime movie.”

The school was alive with color and sound as students shared their visual arts, singing, instrumental music with all! You won’t want to miss Art’s Night next year.

Reported by Evan and Tommy L.

Do Rae Me Fa So La Ti Do!

Mommymadememashmym&m’s, mommyma….. Can you hear the music ringing in your ears? That’s the Chickering Chorus! Chorus is a program we have at our school. We sing songs that are so cool like “Cantar!”, “Symphony of the Heart”, and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. “Cantar” is in Spanish. It is so fun! We practice at 7:30 in the morning and if you come before 7:30 you get a blue ticket, which was an idea of a 5th grade student. To reward us for our attendance, Ms Pappas gives us a bead, (blue, white or black) for each time we come, which we add to our necklace. A couple of times a year, she will recognize the students with perfect attendance with a gold bead.

Students singing at their annual winter concert.We asked Ms Pappas a few questions about what she thinks about chorus. One question was what is the process of picking the music? She told us that she takes the whole summer to choose the songs. The songs that “stick in her head” on the first day of school are the ones she chooses. We asked what do you like about teaching chorus? She loves the people and think chorus is a great thing and every single person that does it is a great person. Chorus is fun and musical and we love Ms Pappas so much and we thank her for all her time.

The Chickering Reporters interviewed two kids from third, fourth, and fifth grade and learned some of their opinions about chorus.  We asked three questions from each grade and these are some of their answers.  The third graders first question was what is your favorite part of chorus?  Some said they liked listening to Ms Pappas tell her jokes because they made the them laugh and the reviewing the songs because you get to sing with our friends and it is fun.  We asked the third graders what is your favorite song?   “Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening” because it has a high pitch; another is “Cantar” because it is in a different language (Spanish).  The final question we asked do you like to perform in concerts?  The overall response from the third graders was “Yes” because they like to perform in front of people.

We asked the forth graders, What’s your favorite part of chorus? Most fourth graders replied that they like being with their friends.  What is your favorite song? The students said that “Cantar” because it is cool, loud and funky. Finally, we asked do you think that other grades should be able to do chorus? Students said yes but not younger than second graders.

What is your favorite part of chorus? we asked the fifth grade students. They said they like getting to sing songs with Ms Pappas. What is your favorite song? The one said “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” because he has a violin part in it. Another said, “Symphony of the Heart” because she likes the piano music. We asked, do you think we should have a choice of songs? The answers were mixed, “No” because Ms Pappas knows what songs are written at an appropriate key for students to sing. Another said, “Yes” because sometimes Ms Pappas picks songs that we don’t really know so maybe we could pick one that we know instead. We thank the students for giving us their thoughts about chorus.

Even though 7:30 in the morning is early, all the students, who participate, love singing together with Ms Pappas.

Reported by Abby and Sarah

Taiko Drumming

On May 23rd, 5th graders at Chickering pulled off a great performance on Taiko drums. Taiko drumming is a Japanese style of drumming. Ms Pappas, our music teacher had a meeting with the district music teachers and decided some of the curriculum for 5th grade would move to the middle school. So she had to think of a new project and someone suggested Japanese music; so that’s how she got the idea of Taiko drumming. Ms Pappas had to learn everything in order to teach the students. Ms Pappas would love to continue this unit but claimed that this assembly will determine if she will do this next year.

 Ms Pappas made 4 types of drums by herself, which are small white buckets, big blue barrels, white barrels and a humongous blue drum supported by a tall stand. Ms Pappas’ favorite drum is the blue barrels and an Indian drum.

Each class had its own signature color and Japanese name for their class group. Each class was split into 4 groups. We thought you would like to see a short movie showing the 5th graders playing a section they composed themselves.

 Taiko Drumming Video


Reported By Seika and Mariam