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Students celebrate our small world
Written by Greg Ruland   
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 00:00

It was nearly impossible to withhold a smile when 200 first-, second- and third-grade students stood to sing “Everybody Smiles in the Same Language,” one of several musical offerings presented during Tavasci Elementary School’s presentation of “Children Around the World,” written and produced by the school’s veteran music teacher, Karen Schwartz.

The multimedia program Thursday, Jan. 13, incorporated music, storytelling, musical instruments and songs with prerecorded music and digital images projected on a large screen, performed to prove one of Schwartz’s fundamental beliefs, “All children are musical.”

Tavasci Elementary School students hold construction paper flags while singing a song about children’s names from different places all over the globe during the morning performance of “Children Around the World,” on Thursday, Jan. 13. The musical celebration of cultural diversity was written by TES music teacher Karen Schwartz and featured the talents of the school’s first-through-third-grade students.“It’s my job to help them know that,” Schwartz said following the morning program. A second performance was planned for the evening, allowing parents who work to attend.

Schwartz, with the help of nine other teachers, maintained order and managed a smooth transition from one song to the next despite the excited movements and muffled exclamations of the performers.

In addition to readers Christ-ian Reid, Shiloh Shebester and Peter Calandra, dozens of other students performed in featured roles as Orff instrument players, speakers, non-pitched percussion players, game players, readers, flag holders and small-group singers.

Following the concert, first-graders Spencer Piper, Caleb Underhill, Wexel Swank and Abby Woodard all said they approved of the performance. All said they were unafraid to be on stage.

Piper’s favorite part of the performance came when he got to play one of the Orff instruments, a percussive instrument similar to a xylophone.

Underhill said he liked singing “Alouette,” a French song that identifies different parts of the body.

Swank said he enjoyed holding up the U.S. flag when the group sang “One Light, One Sun.”

Woodard said she enjoyed playing the bells the most.

Schwartz selected songs to demonstrate different cultural practices, including games played by children in Ghana and Japan.

In one game, children rhythmically passed large rocks from one to the next in time with the music, a feat more difficult than it sounds. In the other, students played a form of paper, scissors, rock that resulted in winners holding their hands up, fingers wide apart, and losers taking a deep bow, all in tempo.

“It was a wonderful performance, so nice,” said Laura Davila, mother of Angel Franco, a second-grader.

“He just told us yesterday he had a performance,” said second-grader Luke Razo’s grandfather, Serafin.

“It was great watching him,” grandmother Kathy Razo said.

“I believe all people are musical,” Schwartz said. “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.”


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