Monday, November 18, 2019

Culture Bearing

Not the water into wine or Virgins appearing in trees variety, but some lucky people were able to witness the miracle of 45 minutes of music and dance come together in our first performance of our upcoming Middle School Show for the Orff National Conference. Some folks who have been filming the process and having seen rehearsals in their raw trying-things-out form, were shaking their heads how it all came together flawlessly—including transitions where each of the 38 kids knew exactly where to go and exactly what to play on the next piece and did so expertly. Accent on “kids” who are between 11 and 13 years old with all different degrees of musical background and performing experience.


This will be our 7thshow at an Orff Conference since the first in 1991 and is carrying on our tradition of enlarging people’s notions about what kids can do and expanding the repertoire far beyond Orff and Keetman’s original “Music for Children.” In a day and age when Fox News pundits are proud of the fact that no American knows or cares where the Ukraine is, we are proud to introduce the greater world to the kids and get them inside the beauty of each culture they encounter through music and dance, song and story. Our Middle School music curriculum of World Music, Classical Music and Jazz is unique in the music education world and besides providing kids with great music and dance worthy of their attention, we accent the context and culture and history and geography. And thus, we take seriously our adult role as culture bearers carrying on the good that our ancestors accomplished while also looking at the bad that needs re-thinking. This takes this work far, far beyond simply learning the next band arrangement for the half-time football game. 

Here is the program we performed yesterday. If you’re close to Salt Lake City Friday afternoon, come and hear for yourself. 

LA VIDA ES UN CARNAVAL: The AOSA National Conference-Salt Lake City
                performed by The San Francisco School Middle School Ensemble
    directed by Doug Goodkin, James Harding and Sofía López-Ibor


1)   Body Percussion Medley– Body music inspired by Indian rhythms, contemporary Balinese kecak and a dance song from Brazil.

2)   Bolero Mallorquin(S. López-Ibor)- A celebration of the famous rhythm of the Balearic Islands.

3)   Adongko Adongko Agagit(Philippines)- A Kulintang melody and dance over rhythmic bamboo poles.  

4)   Wanyema/Bobobo(Ghana)- A xylophone piece from the North of Ghana paired with one of the most famous dances of the Ewe Culture from the Volta region. 

5)   Palladio (Carl Jenkins)- An arrangement for strings and Orff ensemble featuring composed episodes and an accompanying original film.

6)   Kinderyoren (Yiddish) – A poignantly sad and sweet ode to the life of children, featuring vocals by  6thgrader Vivian Scheben

7)   Musica Ricercata #8(Györgi Ligeti) A rondo treatment  of the main theme with original rhythmic episodes and bamboo stick choreography

8)   I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues(Duke Ellington)- The famous standard, featuring vocal stylings of 6thgrader Ella Ford and guitar solo by 8th grader Oliver Moore.

9)   La Vida Es un Carnaval(Victor Daniel)— This anthem to life was made famous throughout the world by Singer Celia Cruz. Featuring vocals by 8thgrader Joel Ajin Rivera.


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