Posted on January 24th, 2020 by Amelia Fitzsimmons
For the fifth straight year, Lower School students showed us the meaning of “a resilient spirit that dares to take risks”, performing as soloists in the perennial Lower School Solo Performance Night.
While our full-ensemble and full-grade level concerts offer students regular opportunities to perform as a large group, there is nothing like the intimate setting of Solo Performance Night for an individual to develop confidence and connect directly with an audience through the voice or instrument on which they perform. Many students in our community are aspiring young musicians. They take lessons outside of school or through our own Encore program, and this night gives them the opportunity to celebrate their musical accomplishments with the AC community.
Congratulations to the young musicians who performed! Also, congratulations to the families who continuously support these students by providing love, encouragement, lessons, and instruments. Your children are on a promising path, thanks to you!
In the month of January, musicians in Lower, Middle, and Upper school are offered the opportunity to perform in solo festivals hosted by the Monroe County School Music Association. This year, AC has 15 musicians involved in festivals over the course of the month.
The Vocal Solo Festival was held on January 10th and 11th, and the Instrumental Solo Festivals were held the following three weekends (Jan. 17-18, Jan. 24-25, and Jan. 31-Feb. 1). Representing lower, middle, and upper schools, nine singers and six instrumentalists participated in the festivals. Participation entails studying a piece with an AC teacher or a private lessons teacher, performing the piece for a festival judge, and receiving feedback as well as an overall score. All of the singers received the highest festival rating of “outstanding” or “A+” for their performances. (As of this writing, the instrumental festivals have not taken place yet.) This achievement shows both the students dedication and the hard work put in to studying their pieces over the course of many months.
Participation in these solo festivals shows young musicians’ desires to go above and beyond in their musical learning. Participation is optional and requires extra work on the part of the students, who schedule extra rehearsal and lesson time outside of classes to work with teachers in preparation for the festival performances. They are asked to learn challenging repertoire that pushes them to new levels of musicianship. The opportunity to perform and receive feedback is incredibly valuable to young and developing musicians, and we as music educators are grateful our students have the opportunity to participate.
Lower School Band family members and friends are invited to Join the Band for a special side-by-side rehearsal and performance event on Friday March 6th.
Side-by-side concerts are opportunities for musicians of various ages and ability levels to get together and learn from each other, build strong connections through music, and celebrate learning and growth in a fun, low-stress environment. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, extended family and family friends are all invited. School faculty, staff, and administrators are also welcome to join in the fun.
One night and one night only
Here’s What’s Involved
Music: The music will be easy (appropriate for our band beginners). Once you sign up, we’ll give you the sheet music for the instrument you will be playing. We encourage you to practice at home, with your loved one, to extend the side-by-side experience!
Rehearsal: We will spend the late afternoon on Friday (4:30-5:15 p.m.) and the time between dinner and the concert (6-7 p.m.) rehearsing together, with students and adults sitting side-by-side. AC band directors Lynn Grossman and Gabriel Costanzo will lead the rehearsals and concert.
Food! All performers and guests are invited to a family-style dinner Friday evening. We will provide subs & sides for $5, but you are welcome to bring your own (nut-free) dinner if you prefer.
Concert: At 7:00 p.m. sharp the band will perform the two pieces, showcasing our practice and the love of music that transcends generations. The performance will not be long, but it will certainly last for a long time in everyone’s memories!
Audience: All are invited to see our students and special guests perform. In addition to your presence, we would love for you to film the performance so that we can put together a video collage afterwards. Your unique view of the concert will capture the fun of the event!
After-School Plans: Between 3:00-4:25 p.m., there are a few options for student performers:
If they normally attend Rainbow Room, they should go there until 4:25 p.m.
They may also be picked up from school and return by 4:25 p.m.
Students may also stay at school for a movie and a snack in the Band Room.
Allendale Columbia School was recently ranked as one of Newsweek’s Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in America. More than 30,000 high schools in the country were analyzed over a three-year period to determine the rankings. Newsweek, with its long history of reporting on scientific breakthroughs, technological revolutions and societal challenges, partnered with STEM.or to rank America’s Best STEM High Schools.
Recent AC STEM Activities
NASA Thanks AC Sixth Grade Citizen Scientists for Their Research AC sixth graders just completed a month-long citizen science project through NASA’s GLOBE Program, recording more than 330 cloud observations. On December 17th, the class virtually met with NASA Education Specialist Marile Colon Robles who thanked the students for their work and reiterated the importance their cloud data plays in NASA’s on-going studies. Read more
AC Robotics Teams Compete at Local FIRST Robotics Competitions Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the lower school in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. Read more
AC students and faculty celebrated World Kindness Week November 11th-15th. Lower School teachers in grades 2-5 were given the opportunity to sign up with Empatico to connect their classrooms with others overseas. By doing so, AC students could participate in online activities and discussions about empathy and kindness with students around the globe.
Lower, Middle, and Upper School students also filled in hearts to share how they exhibit kindness to others. The hearts are displayed on the Global Engagement bulletin boards in each division.
Students also celebrated International Education Week November 18th-22nd. The week was dedicated to celebrating the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. It is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a globally interconnected world and encourage the development of global leaders. AC celebrated the week by conducting a Kahoot! cultural trivia contest in the middle school and upper school. There was also a middle and upper school international photo contest. Our Lower School students participated by bringing in photos of their international or domestic travels. Photos are displayed on the Global Engagement bulletin boards in each division.
In December, a month known for holiday celebrations and excitement leading up to a well-earned break, AC student musicians did their part to spread joy with performances in two Winter Concerts, caroling at the Genesee Valley Club, performances at the AC Holiday Book Fair at Barnes & Noble and, of course, to complete the circuit, the Holiday Breakfast.
Performances featured works that ranged from pieces connected to Project-Based Learning (“My Paddle (Dip, Dip and Swing)” and “What Do You Do With a Water Waster?”) to classic American pop tunes (“Sweet Caroline,” “Rockin’ Robin” and “We Are the Champions), from major Broadway musical medleys (Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables) to film music favorites (The Lord of the Rings and The Pink Panther) to holiday pops numbers (“Let It Snow!/Winter Wonderland” and “Christmas in Killarney”). The students not only brought joy to the hearts of their listeners, they had genuine challenges to accept and an authentic way to publicly demonstrate the learning they experienced in the ensembles and music classes that are a standard part of the academic landscape at Allendale Columbia School.
Without the talent and effort of the students who have devoted themselves to the study of music, in addition to their hard work in all other areas of their lives, the fabric of our AC culture would not be as colorful or emotionally meaningful as it is today, so we would like to express our gratitude to students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade music classes, the 4th Grade Band, 4th Grade Chorus, 5th Grade Chorus, 5th Grade Band, Middle School Chorus, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Select Chorus, and Upper School Chorus.
Join us for an AC tradition: Lower School Solo Performance Night! All students in grades K-5 are welcome to perform for an audience of family and friends on Thursday night, January 16th, 2020, with an ice cream social to follow. To participate, students must register with their performance selections by Friday, January 10th, 2020.
Fill out the Registration Form to specify the song to be performed and whether an accompanist is needed. Submit the completed form to Mr. Costanzo or Ms. Grossman by January 10th (digital or printed copies will both be accepted), and start practicing for the performance!
AC second graders met with Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the city of Rochester as they plan and create their own city, Birchville.
Ribbon-cutting of Birchville
Learning about cities
As part of our project-based learning in Lower School, our second graders are learning about cities and what goes into designing and building one. Project-based learning is dependent upon the collaboration of several teachers and in-depth planning. Throughout this unit, the classroom teacher, Annie King, sought the expertise of our STEM teacher, Donna Chaback and our art teacher, Shari Ellmaker. They worked on concepts of engineering and the arts as they designed blueprints of their ideal city and then worked in teams to decide where certain businesses, landforms, and organizations should be located. Once they had a plan to propose, they presented their ideas to a mock city planning board comprised of Head of School, Mr. Gee, Head of Lower School Mrs. Feiss, Head of Middle School Mrs. Duver, Director of the AC Invent Center Ms. Crosby, and Director of Food Service Mrs. Reynolds.
Meeting with a Rochester City Planner to learn about transportation systems
After receiving feedback from the mock city planning board, the students were ready to design their own 3-D city. Public transportation was an issue the mock planning board raised, so the second grade students began their research in this area and quickly became experts learning about a variety of traditional and cutting edge transportation systems. They were captivated to learn about Elon Musk’s Hyperloop train as well as Sea Bubbles which are being tested in Paris, France. They also met Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the city of Rochester as they planned and created their own city, Birchville.
“What about a homeless shelter?” turns into donating to RAIHN
Next, students wrote and sent emails to members of the AC community asking what is needed to make a community great. One response they got was about a homeless shelter and how shelters are an integral part of a community. Once the students learned this, a deep and meaningful class discussion took place, resulting in their decision to include a homeless shelter in Birchville. This conversation also moved them to want to take immediate action to help those affected by homelessness in the Rochester community, so they decided to sell the crock-pot applesauce they’d been making in their classroom each week. The sale generated $140 which the students then donated to RAIHN, a non-profit that assists homeless families to achieve sustainable independence by supporting them with shelter, food, personalized case management and a network of caring volunteers.
The students decided early on that they wanted art to be a part of Birchville, so they took a field trip around Rochester viewing a variety of sculptures to help determine what they wanted in their own city. Then, Art Teacher Mrs. Ellmaker helped them design a collaborative sculpture (called “Colorful Life”) which is located in the center of Birchville.