With the importance of connections being central to the mission of Allendale Columbia School, we treasure opportunities for collaboration across members of our community. On Friday, March 1st, students, teachers, staff, administrators, and family members came together in a special after-school event to build connections through music-making as a band. This side-by-side concert was coordinated by instrumental music teachers Lynn Grossman and Gabe Costanzo.
What is a side-by-side concert?
Side-by-side concerts are opportunities for musicians of various ages and ability levels to get together to perform together as a group and learn from each other while celebrating learning and growth in a fun, low-stress environment. In this event, parents, older siblings, grandparents, extended family, and family friends were all invited. School faculty, staff, and administrators were also welcome to join in the fun. (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
Allendale Columbia’s Middle School students aren’t just building community and an understanding of theatrical productions in this weekend’s Peter Pan JR. They have been engaged in an interesting dialogue about cultural representation.
In the original stage productions of Peter Pan, written by J.M. Barrie in the early 20th century, the people of Neverland were often depicted as caricatures of Native American stereotypes. This was a common trope in the literature and entertainment of the era, though these types of depictions would be decried as offensive today.
Since its initial stage performances, the show has been adapted several times for both stage and film, most famously with the animated Disney film from 1953. Even in this depiction, the people of Neverland are exaggerated and culturally insensitive versions of Native Americans in their appearance, customs, and language. For Disney’s Peter Pan JR. adaptation for the stage, there were notable efforts to reduce the misinformed and insensitive representations of Native Americans, but as a school, we felt even these efforts fell short.
While some of the more distasteful language had been cut for the junior edition, and the song “What Makes the Red Man Red” altered to “What Makes the Brave Ones Brave”, the people of Neverland are still referred to as “Indians”, which harkens back to the story’s history of misrepresentation of culture. Rather than allowing these issues to prevent us from performing an otherwise excellent show, the production team chose to rework the depiction of these characters. We opened up a dialogue with Middle School students about why it is important to properly represent cultures and the reasoning behind the decision to make the changes we did.
The process began when we realized that, if AC is a school that truly values other cultures, it was our job to present a telling of this story that reflected these values. The word “Indians” was still in the script we received, but we felt that this was not an accurate description of the people of Neverland nor the role we wanted to present. In the program, we chose to call them “Neverlanders”.
We discussed with the cast how we could develop Neverlanders’ culture in a way that did not draw from existing cultures, but rather was unique to life in Neverland. As the Neverlanders’ main song has a recurring message of “what makes the brave girl brave?”, we cast all our Neverlanders as girls. We highlighted the idea of strong female role models while developing their characters. This worked with the material in the script and reflected a positive message, replacing the image that was previously intended to poke fun at stereotypes.
The discussions that took place within the cast and in the Middle School as a whole will hopefully continue and build a more educated and culturally engaged environment.
Cassidy DraperCassidy Draper '19 is the Middle School musical's Student Director. Between her Science Research and Writing Project, participation in the regional TEAMS competition, and work for the Global Engagement Diploma, she has performed in 10 AC theater productions between Middle and Upper School and has now decided to bring her theater experience to the next generation of AC's performers. She has enjoyed taking on the Student Director role and the opportunity to build connections between the Middle and Upper School that she hopes will last far beyond her graduation this June.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, PACK, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
Innovation Day on March 15th is dedicated to all the new and unconventional ways students, teachers, and the AC community teach and learn, shaking things up from how it’s always been done. Anchored by a pitch competition for prospective young entrepreneurs and a science fair, the event will include interactive workshops, speakers, a gallery walk, and performances. (more…)
Posted in: Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Invent
Yes, there were a few butterflies in the stomachs of Lower School students who had signed up for the annual Solo Performance Night held January 18th. But once they got started, the young students turned those butterflies into brave and beautiful notes that floated to the receptive ears of a welcoming audience. (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade
Poor Charlie Brown.
Anxiousness, uncertainty, and sadness are just a few emotions that all of us have or will experience at one time or another. In You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, based on characters in Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comics and on stage this weekend at Allendale Columbia School, we see the characters express those feelings and more. (more…)
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
by Rachael Sanguinetti
Are you past the rock star stage of your life, or upgrading your instruments? Allendale Columbia School seeks donations of the following instruments, in good working condition, for use by the new Middle School elective, “Rock Band”:
- Electric guitars
- Acoustic guitars
- Bass guitars
- Drum set
This new course allows students of all levels and abilities to learn modern band instruments and play in small ensembles. Any donations can be left at the Welcome Desk or brought to the music building. Please contact Rachael Sanguinetti at rsanguinetti@
The Intro to Rock Band elective is for any Middle School students who has ever wanted to be a real-life rock star and explore playing popular music. The class begins with learning skills on guitar (both acoustic and electric), bass, drum set, vocals, and piano before forming small groups in class. Song selections for bands are chosen by the band members, and public performance is not required. Along the way, students explore many styles and decades of music including classics from long before you were born all the way through the bands that are popular today. Students will also be invited to compose and arrange their own songs with the help of band mates. Takeaways from this course include a basic understanding of multiple popular instruments, an understanding of the voice and how it’s used in popular music, a basic understanding of the recent history of popular music and how it has contributed to the music we hear today, and resources for further exploration and learning of popular music.
Rachael SanguinettiRachael is in her third year teaching music at AC. A recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music with majors in Music Education and Musical Arts with a minor in Psychology and an Arts Leadership Certificate, she's working toward a masters degree at Ithaca College. She brings experience teaching kindergarten-8th grade music in Rochester, 6th-8th grade general music and choir at Burger Middle School, and 2-3 year olds as part of the Eastman Community School Early Childhood Music Program.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
by Jennifer Truong, Lynn Grossman, and AC Second Graders
In studying parts of speech, second grade students at Allendale Columbia School imagined a fictional town where nouns, verbs, and adjectives come to life. We combined our love of music and singing with our “Noun Town” creation to write a song and make a music video. Throughout this project, we were reading and writing and learning about music form, beats, rhythm, song writing, rhyming words, syllables, story boarding, common nouns, proper nouns, verbs, adjectives, population, 3-digit numbers, symmetry, ROYGBIV (the colors of the rainbow), teamwork, creativity, green screen effects, editing, parodies, and more! We even got to experience what it’s like to be a recording musician!
You can watch the Facebook Live video of the premiere from May 29th here:
Do you want to know more about the making of “Noun Town”? View the slides and photos here:
Jennifer TruongJenn, awarded with AC's Virginia and Fred Gordon Chair in Elementary Education, has been teaching for almost 15 years and is entering her seventh year at Allendale Columbia. She has attended and facilitated several professional development courses to improve her pedagogy and influence the pedagogy of colleagues, understand how a young child's brain learns best, and implement best practices in diverse classroom settings in the Rochester area, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Jennifer holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Reading, both from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.
Lynn GrossmanLynn Grossman specializes in elementary general and instrumental music education. She studied bassoon performance and music education at the Eastman School of Music where she earned both her bachelor's degree and master's degree, and she taught K-2 music in the East Irondequoit School District for eight years. Lynn is the President of the New York Chapter of the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (NY-GIML), which provides professional learning opportunities to music educators. She has co-presented her work in the US and the UK and is co-author of a chapter in Envisioning Music Teacher Education (Rowman and Littlefield). She enjoys professional collaboration and research in music education and enjoys teaching music to AC's Pre-Primary and Lower School students!
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Highlights, Lower School, Second Grade
by Gabriel Costanzo
Did you ever wonder why certain dances were included in the Strawberry Breakfast at Allendale Columbia? What are their origins? What’s the story behind this tradition? A few secrets will be revealed by Mitzie Collins, Rochester musician and parent of three former AC students.
Collins is a well known musician in Western New York, and she will be joining the AC musicians accompanying the Maypole Dance and Sword Dance at this year’s Strawberry Breakfast. This Monday, May 14th, at 12:05 p.m., Ms. Collins will give a presentation about these traditions to those musicians and dancers. The presentation will be in the Curtis Performance Center.
Gabriel CostanzoAs an instrumental music teacher at Allendale Columbia School, Gabe teaches 4th Grade Band, 5th Grade Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Music Theory. He held the David M. Pynchon Chair in the Visual and Performing Arts from 2008 - 2013 and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He earned bachelor's degrees in Music Education and Music Composition from SUNY College at Fredonia and a master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University. You can also find him on horn and vocals for the local band The Buddhahood.