What a busy time since our last newsletter! Report card comments are always a big task but very rewarding in that I get to revisit the progress of each of my students and I come away feeling so blessed that we are making music together. I hope that you never tire of me saying this.
Given the date of this submission, I am unable to report on Nine Lessons and Carols but there is much to share about our fIrst Showcase of this schola year. Having it in the auditorium was a special treat allowing them to be on a stage and the Little Lambs adjusted very well to the space limitations for our games. They certainly delighted in our biggest train ever as we snaked through the auditorium in Engine Number 9. The 9/10 and 3/4 classes truly got into the spirit and their enthusiasm really helped get almost our entire audience on our train! I love this first showcase as it gives all a taste of what happens in a regular class; so you saw some of the procedures and the progress that got us to 'Showcase' Day. You also saw the great variety of repertoire that we cover. It spans the rich traditional childhood songs/games, many dating back hundreds of years which are the basis for the acquisition of many of our skills and concepts. We also shared some of our longer repertoire in the hymns that we sing as a congregation and it is obvious that we are contributing much more to the musical liturgy. You also got a taste of how choreography in "The Lion and the Lamb" aids the memorization process, allows our young musicians to be authentic storytellers and how it adds to the movement component which is so important for this age group. Certainly, "Santa’s Toyshop" was a huge hit for everyone; I was delighted that no one fell off the stage and that special, magical moment that happens every time Mr. Jack-in-the-Box does his thing is another reason I so much love what I do. This showcase was a huge success and I am so proud on each of my Little Lambs.
I have not yet mentioned our Nine Lessons and Carols selection,"We'll Dress The House", by Alfred Burt that we also shared. I thought some background information would be of interest to you. I first discovered this composer and introduced him to my Christmas Caroling Quartet decades ago. Malcolm also got to know Alfred Burt's music during that time and last year his Senior Choir did "Caroling, Caroling" at NL&C. Later that year we were gifted by Alane Boudreau a beautiful collection of Alfred Burt's Christmas Carols. It was then that we learned that from 1942 to 1954, the Burt family and friends were treated to a Burt Christmas Card including a new carol along with some of the family stories that inspired each carol. The year of his death was 1954 but the start of his musical life as this collection was published 50 years after his death. In anticipation of NL&C, I will look forward to hearing all of your voices raising in song as we celebrate this very special SJCS service. What a wonderful model you may offer to your children.
Moving forward into the new year, you may be wondering how you may assist your young musician. A little solfege practice would be most helpful. Additionally, I will make a point to place the repertoire that will require some practise at home in the front of your child's binder. Helping them track the notes, text and reading the words would assist them with this next big step of holding music in their hands - all part of making more sense of printed music that goes beyond a one page handout. So please look for our Tenebrae Hymn, our various octavos/sheet music which are stamped property of the Schola and the "Ave Maria" Chant. For the latter there are two Schola YouTube versions that will be a great aid to learning this beautiful chant. That information is on the "Ave Maria" handout. Any older sibling will also be able to help the Little Lambs in learning in a family setting - their very first experience in Latin!
Wishing you all the very best of this most joyous and special time of year.
Katheryne Perri Edwards
Katheryne Perri Edwards, a singer and music educator comes to St. John Choir Schola with the following credentials. She graduated from the U of A with distinction with a B.Ed (Music Education) and from the U of C with a M.Ed (Specialization in Early Childhood Music). She taught music for 37 years. The first 13 years were with the Calgary Separate School Board where she received an Excellence in Teaching Award and her last 24 years with the Youth Singers of Calgary where she was the Program Director/Teacher of the Kids & Music Program. This was a four-level music education/preparatory choir experience for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grade I and Grade 2 Students.