Saturday, March 15, 2014

Haley's First Day of School…kinda

On Friday, Haley had a wonderful experience spending an entire day at school demonstrating and teaching Irish music to the middle school students at a rather large public school in PA. We met the music teacher at this school at Paraic's Monday night sessions. She plays flute and tin whistle and is learning Irish tunes. She thought it would be a nice program for her students and the rest of the school in honor of St. Patrick's Day so she asked Haley and Paraic to come to the school for the day.

They started the day with the 6th grade orchestra and another music class observing and taking notes. The orchestra students had learned the tune Drowsy Maggie. Haley took the lead in giving them some hints on how to make their reel sound more "Irish" by adding in some ornamentation and downbeats. The orchestra director had written the tune on the white board so Haley wrote her and Paraic's suggestions into the music, demonstrated, played with the students so they could practice then they rehearsed together.

The next two class periods she and Paraic played some tunes and did a question/answer segment with different classes. The kids had some great questions and were extremely well behaved and polite. We then had a nice lunch brought in. Haley was curious to see what it was like to walk the halls of the school on her own so she did. The music teacher also took her around to the lunch room, which she said was "really loud and crazy…with kids throwing oranges," and another classroom so she could see what it was like. As lunch was ending she and Paraic stood outside the auditorium and fiddled for the kids walking the halls because not every student was able to fit in the auditorium for the "show" later in the day.

They did another class with the 7th and 8th grade orchestra who had learned Tripping Up the Stairs. She and Paraic taught them how to slur notes together into the down beat and add a couple ornaments to make their tune sound more "Irish." They asked the cello section, who were playing harmony, to begin playing the tune as a little intro before the rest of the orchestra joined in. They rehearsed it a couple times before class was over.

The final class period the students filled the auditorium. It was a really big school with a large auditorium but still teachers had to sign up because not every student could fit. We even added a couple extra rows of chairs in the front. It was full of students. Haley and Paraic played a set together then they played along with the 6th grade orchestra.

6th grade orchestra

Then they performed with the 7th and 8th grade orchestra.

7th/8th grade orchestra

Haley and Paraic played a tune for a couple dancers who went to the school while they took turns Irish dancing. (I had a really hard time getting a picture to come out not blurry.)

Haley and Paraic finished the program by played two more tune sets together. As the orchestra students packed up their instruments to head to their buses a number of girls took pictures with Haley and made friends.

Haley and I jumped in the car right after school to head about 30 minutes away because Haley's string ensemble, PRYSM, was playing with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra to open their "Harp Play In." They performed Vaughn William's Variations on Dives and Lazzarus.

Haley playing her small solo section.

Here's a picture of all the harps on stage. There were over 20 harps playing at once….some concert pedal harps and others smaller lever harps. It was beautiful music!

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