On Friday morning, Grade 5 students brandished their bows – the musical tool, not the arrow-shooting weapon – to serenade classmates, teachers, parents and grandparents during a beautiful concert at the Junior School.
It was the first performance of the Grade 5 strings orchestra this year, and the debut concert for new Junior School strings teacher Ms. Jennifer Fisher.
From the moment the music began, it was evident that Ms. Fisher and the student musicians had worked incredibly hard perfecting their sound.
The orchestra performed five songs together: Austrian Folk Song, Spanish Carol, Theme from Sonata in G Major, Elegy and Dance, and Fancy Fiddles. Grade 5 soloist Samantha wonderfully performed Csárdás by Vittorio Monti, accompanied by Ms. Jane Edler-Davis on the piano.
Playing a string instrument – students get their choice of violin, violo, cello or double bass – begins in Grade 4 at the Junior School. During their time at the Junior School, students learn the basics of playing music (how to read music, tone production, intonation), as well as specifics to their own instrument (posture, playing positions, hand and arm coordination). Developing these skills at a young age provides a solid musical foundation that expands at the Middle School, when students can choose to continue with the string orchestra or play an instrument in the school bands.
Congratulations to all of our talented students who contributed to making the performance so wonderful!
“Today we had the Grade 5 strings concert. I was surprised when I walked on stage because I wasn’t nervous at all, even though my legs were shivering the entire time I played! I think the reason why I didn’t feel nervous was because the second I started playing I became lost in my own world and was oblivious to everything else. Something else that surprised me was that we played the whole Elegy and Dance without completely falling apart! My favourite song was the Spanish Carol because I really enjoyed the way it sounds. Overall, I felt like the Grade 5 strings concert was a great experience.” – by Samantha
“While I was walking into the gym this morning for the strings concert, I was so nervous. I was afraid that I would mess up and ruin the concert for the other students, but it actually wasn’t so bad! I got lost in a few places but luckily I always found my way back to the right notes. What I found most challenging was the song Elegy and Dance because there were lots of twists and turns. What I found most successful was everything else! In all of the other songs I felt the rhythm and beat. I really, really enjoyed the strings concert today.” – by Sava
“During the strings concert I was excited, as well as nervous. When we played Elegy and Dance I got lost a couple of times and had to follow Xander’s bow-strokes until I found my place again. I felt like I did well on Sonata in G Major because I played all of the correct notes at the appropriate times. In my opinion, Fancy Fiddles was probably the most difficult song to play because the pizzicato seemed to come up so suddenly! My favourite piece to play was the Austrian Folk Song because I loved how simple it was and I loved the pattern of the movement. I think the next concert I play in will be even better than the one today because I will practice even harder to hit all of the right notes. Hopefully by practicing more, the harder pieces will become easier for me to play.” – by Reede
“Before the performance I felt nervous but excited, but I am not too sure why I felt both of them. Maybe they are normal emotions to feel before a performance. During the performance I felt excited and happy because it was fun; I felt like I had it all ready and prepared. After the performance I felt good about myself because I accomplished something. I got it all right and it was a success. Today I learned that I could speak to a crowd. Even though I can be nervous, I will probably do some of it right.” – by Ethan (the emcee)
Check out more photos from the Grade 5 Strings Concert and download your favourites for free on the SMUS Photo Gallery.
(photos by Kyle Slavin and Gordon Chan)