A message from our music staff:

Mr. Berger and Ms. Dudlak are glad you're here! Check back often for updates and info about our Westgate music program. Mr. Berger can be reached via email at gberger@sd25.org, and Ms. Dudlak can be reached at jdudlak@sd25.org. Follow Mr. Berger on Twitter! @WEMusic160

Thursday, November 20, 2014

First and Second Grade Concert is Coming!

Is it cold enough yet? Brrrr!

Our First and Second Grade concert is coming up on Thursday, December 11, 2014. The students are really doing great learning the music, and are excited to perform for their families on the evening of December 11th! Please click on the link below to access the parent information letter I sent home on Friday, November 21st. 

We are looking forward to performing some great winter themed music for our Westgate Community!

Have a great Thanksgiving Break!!

Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Tribute to Those Who Have Served our Country- Veteran's Day 2014

The following video is a medley of military themes or hymns that I shared with students this week. We also discussed how the men and women of the military practice the 7 Habits.
(Please be aware that this link will take you to YouTube.)

With respect for all who have served...

Armed Forces Medley

Important News from the Westgate Main Office...

SignUp Genius
Westgate will be using SignUp Genius as an electronic way to schedule Parent/Teacher Conferences for November 24th and November 25th. Families without access to the internet or a computer should contact your child’s teacher.

On Monday, November 3rd at 10:00AM, all parents registered on SchoolMessenger will receive an electronic message with homeroom teacher’s link to SignUpGenius. Parent will need this link to use SingUpGenius for conferences. Parents will need to follow the Parent/Teacher Conference SignUpGenius info sheet (electronic sheet located in the Friday Packet and sent electronically through SchoolMessenger.)

Important November Dates
PTA Skating Party Sunday, November 23rd
Parent Teacher Conferences November 24th & 25th
Thanksgiving Break November 26th, 27th, and 28th

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Soprano Recorder orders to be sent home Friday!

Students in third grade will soon have to opportunity to order a soprano recorder to play in music class. Please see the attached PDF version if you'd like a digital copy. Recorder orders are due Wednesday, November 19th. We will start recorders prior to Winter break. Any 4th or 5th grade students who need a recorder should order one as well. Thank you!

Soprano Recorder Order Form

Spooky Autumn Night was a Great night!

Congratulations to our 4th grade students for doing a great job last Thursday performing their concert! We are viewing the concert video this week in Music class, reflecting on how we did as individuals, as a class, and as a whole group. Below are a few pictures from the evening. Special thanks to Dawn Dalton for her help arranging our volunteers, and to all of our volunteers for making my job really easy that night!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Fourth Grade Concert is this Thursday!!

Our 4th grade music concert "A Spooky Night" is this Thursday, October 30th!

Attached is the letter I sent home on Friday, October 17th. 

Students will be dressing in costumes for our concert. They do not have to dress in the costume they plan to wear for Halloween on Friday. They should follow Westgate costume guidelines for suitable costume ideas. (Refer to the October 17th Westgate Weekly for further details).

Students need to have their soprano recorders at school for the concert. Please contact Mr. Berger if your child needs to borrow a recorder for the concert. Thank you!

We're looking forward to a Spooky Night of great music and fun!

Mr. Berger ./`

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Important Information from the Westgate Office

Please read the following information below regarding Halloween at Westgate. Thank you!

Halloween 2014

We are planning our annual Halloween extravaganza for the afternoon of Friday, October 31st. Students will be in costume (in the afternoon) to celebrate the special day! Teachers and parents are planning a fun afternoon of games and activities! Although most children take part in the costume parade and parties, their participation is completely voluntary. As you are planning your child’s costume, please remember we are a kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary school. Students remaining in school during lunch should plan on costumes with limited make-up accessories. We are requesting your cooperation in selecting school-appropriate costumes that avoid violence, sharp objects, weapons, unnecessary gore, etc. At the discretion of the principal, students with inappropriate costumes will not be able to participate in the parade. If you are unsure of the appropriateness of your child’s costume, please contact the office.

The costume parade will start at 1:45 PM (please note lunch changes below for Halloween). Weather permitting; the parade will begin outside on the sidewalk. Students in grades 1st and 2nd will exit the building using the Primary Doors and line up on the sidewalk along Dwyer Street. Students in kindergarten and 3rd grade will exit the building using the Main Doors and line up on the sidewalk in front of school. Students in grade 4th through 5th will exit the Grove Street door and line up on the sidewalk along Grove Street west of Dwyer Street. The office team will lead the parade and students will parade in the following order: Kindergarten, 3rd , 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th grades.

The parade will walk north on the west side of Dwyer Street to Sigwalt, and then return to Westgate walking south on the east side of Dwyer Street. Parents are welcome to line the parade route outside along Dwyer Street. (Students will exit the Primary Door, Main Door, and Grove Street Door. The entire school will meet on the southwest corner of Grove Street and Dwyer Street.) The parade will be cancelled due to rain or the route will be reduced due to extreme cold weather. A SchoolMessenger will be sent out to Westgate families at 12:00PM announcing either the cancellation of the parade or the reduction of the parade route.

Traditionally, many students go home for lunch on Halloween to change into a costume. However, in recent years, more children remain at school for recess and lunch. To ensure all children will be able to go home and return for the Halloween parade at the same time, the lunch time for ALL grades will be from 12:30 -1:30PM as follows:

Grades 1-5: Lunch 12:30-1:00/ Recess 1:00-1:30PM

If your child is in grades 1-5, then please complete the portion on the next page and return it to your child’s teacher by Friday, October 24th.

Students leaving the school for lunch will use the following exits: Main Door (Door #1), Primary Door (Door #2), and 5th Grade Door (Door #16.) The Cab Doors (adjacent to the North Parking Lot, Door #13 ) will not be used for lunch dismissal.

Remember: Students leaving for lunch should not return to school prior to 1:30PM. Returning students should line up at the Main Entrance (Door #1.) There will be no supervision prior to 1:25PM. Students may not enter the building until 1:30PM

Children who stay at school for lunch will have the opportunity to change into their costumes during the lunch/recess hour. There will be limited adult assistance for costume preparations and it is advisable to keep the costume simple.

Special Note For Kindergartens…. All kindergarten students should come to school dressed in their costumes. AM classes will have their parties during their class time and will parade outside (weather permitting) around the Circle Drive during the morning class time. In the event of rain or inclement weather, the AM parade will be canceled. There will be no indoor parade accessible to parents. THE AM KINDERGARTEN PARADE CANCELLATION NOTICE WILL BE MADE BY 9:00AM THROUGH SCHOOLMESSENGER AND EXTERIOR PA SYSTEM. The PM Kindergarten children will join the all-school parade in the afternoon. The AM Kindergarten children are invited back at 1:45 PM to join in the all-school parade if they so desire. All AM Kindergarten children participating in the afternoon parade need to be accompanied by an adult. Please refer to homeroom Kindergarten letters for more information regarding Halloween festivities.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Music Class Happenings- What have we been up to??

Greetings from the Music Room!

Over the past few weeks, we have been having some great musical experiences together in Music class! Aren't you glad we're not having math or astro-physics experiences in music class? Although some of our activities are 'out of this world'! :-)

Anyway- here's a quick run-down of what we've been up to:

Kindergarten: We are working on steady beat and learning many songs that we will sing in our concert later in the year. (I'm So Glad to Be Here, My Little Puppy, I'll Just Be Myself, and the Slide Whistle game)

1st grade: We have been singing and moving to Sol-Mi songs, (Snail, Snail and Lemonade). We also learned a name game song and a song about our favorite subject in school...Music!

2nd grade: Yippee-Ti-Yi-Yay! We've been singing some cowboy songs, and this week we learned a Navajo Happy song and did a steady beat stick activity.

3rd grade: We've been singing rounds and working on holding our own part while others are singing a different part nearby. The students are getting pretty good at this skill! We started a round from Morocco, (A Ram Sam Sam), and took a trip there on Google Earth.

4th grade: We have also been working on singing canons and rounds, and we started our concert music for our upcoming concert~ Thursday, October 30th. The theme is Autumn and Halloween!!

5th grade: We learned about New Zealand with John Jacobsen and Music Express magazine, and did a Maori stick game. We also spent time learning about Sea Chanteys.

It's a pleasure working with all of our Westgate students!

Have a great week!

Mr. Berger./`

Thursday, October 2, 2014

News from the Westgate Main Office

No School Friday, October 10th and Monday, October 13th
Monday Schedule on Tuesday, October 14th

Student Enrollment Meeting with Dr. Bein, Wednesday, October 22nd 630-8PM @ Westgate 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week in review- September 8-12- Patriotism Celebrated!

This past week, we spent our music class time learning and singing American patriotic music for Patriot Day on September 11th. Below is a list of the songs we learned at each grade level:

Kindergarten: Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

1st grade: This Land Is Your Land (Chorus only), You're a Grand Old Flag, Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

2nd grade: America, You're a Grand Old Flag, Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue, Yankee Doodle, and Listening example, "Souvenir L'Amerique".

3rd grade: Sing, America, Sing!, Grand Old Flag, Star Spangled Banner

4th grade: Here's To America, America, the Beautiful, Star-Spangled Banner, and Listening example- Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa

5th grade: America, the Beautiful, America, Star-Spangled Banner, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Fifty Nifty United States

These songs gave us opportunity to have good discussions about pride in our country, the history of the songs, and what it means to be a "patriot."

Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, September 1, 2014

A few upcoming events to be aware of...

Please read below for some important information from Westgate:

Picture Day- September 9th

Patriots Day- September 11th (Wear red, white, and blue today!)

A Word About Fruits and Vegetables as Snacks…

“The school continues to encourage fruits and vegetables as healthy snacks options. We cannot force any parent to abide by this request. Presently, there are over 40 students attending Westgate with life-threatening food allergies. As a diverse community, we encourage families to support each other. Fruits and vegetables can support both a balance diet and students with severe food allergies.” 

Thank you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welcome Back to Westgate!!

Greetings and welcome to a brand new school year here at Westgate! You have arrived at Mr. Berger's blog, where you'll find updates, music activities, and important music documents. Please visit often for the latest musical activities and announcements!

Our music teachers this year are: Mr. Berger, Mrs. Henjum, and Mrs. Scherer.
Mrs. Henjum teaches at Westgate on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and works with Mrs. Gogliotti & Ms. Scatena's first grade class, as well as Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Kent's 5th grade classes.
Mrs. Scherer teaches at Westgate on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and she works with morning Kindergarten classes, Mrs. Danley & Ms. Redmon's 3/4 multi-age class, and Mrs. Jensen's 3rd grade class.
Mr. Berger has everybody else!

The concert schedule will be available shortly. Mr. Berger will post the schedule here, as well as in the office.

We wish you a great and successful year!!

Mr. Berger ./`

On a personal note, my family welcomed our new baby boy, Christian Theodore Berger, on Sunday, August 10th. Mom and baby are doing fine, and we are adjusting to our new life together as the Berger party of 5!
Daddy and baby

Our little Husker.

Friday, May 30, 2014


The Fifth Grade celebration was held last evening, and it was a great time! The photo booth was a big hit! Many students and teachers took part in the fun, as you can see below.
Yes, we are your friendly neighborhood Music and PE teachers!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This Week in Music Class- April 28-May 9, 2014

Greetings from the Music room! It has been a very busy few weeks here at Westgate, so here's a quick update.

5th grade: Last Thursday was our 5th grade concert, titled "Happy: Songs in the Key of Happiness". The kids did a super job, and put on a great concert!! Special thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make our concert a success! Here are a few pictures of our talented students...

4th Grade: Earth Day and Cinco de Mayo songs- Students played a recorder countermelody with the Mexican folk song- LaRaspa, and watched YouTube videos with Mariachi's playing their authentic instruments and energetic music!

3rd grade: We completed a quiz on Meter, and learned a ballad, Don Gato. We also learned and performed a play-party song "Hop Up, My Ladies".

2nd grade: We sang several Spanish language songs, and learned the ever popular "Banana" song.

1/2 & 1st grades: We have been singing "It's Raining, It's Pouring" and learning an Orff part on bass xylophones and glockenspiels. We also learned a Spanish counting song for Cinco de Mayo, and watched a video about the history of the holiday and some of the music and dance that's involved.

Our Kindergarten classes performed their concerts this week, and did a super job! Congrats to Mrs. Petricca and Mrs. Henjum for their great work with the Kindergarten classes this year.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The 5th Grade Concert is next Thursday, May 1st!

Please click on the link below to access the information letter I sent home on Friday. Parent volunteers can sign up on the sign-up genius link as well. Thank you!

5th Grade Concert Parent Letter

Volunteer Sign-up

Monday, April 14, 2014

Please Read this Important Message from District 25 Food Services

April 10, 2014

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of School District 25 Elementary Student(s):

It is your responsibility to monitor your student(s) lunch account balance(s) using an on-line account at www.mymealtime.com.  The ID number needed to add each student to your account is the same number students use as a “server password” to log on to school computers.  There is no cost for setting up an account.  Only if you decide to pay on line is there a fee.  You are always welcome to send in checks to your child’s school to add funds to your child’s lunch account.

If you have any questions about how to set up an account, please refer to the district website at www.sd25.org, select departments and then food service.  On the food service home page select pre payment options.  If you need additional assistance please call the Food Service office at 847-758-4883. 

Starting April 16th the District will be using an automated phone message to let you know when your child’s account is negative more than $2.65.  Calls will be made between 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.  Once your child has a negative account balance in excess of $7.95, they will be called to the office and given an alternate meal.  When adding money to your child’s account online there is a twenty-four (24) hour delay in the money showing up in the account.  You must print your confirmation letter or send a check with your child to school to avoid the alternative lunch. Alternative lunches are the same price as the regular lunch and will meet nutritional guidelines.

If your family is experiencing financial difficulty, please complete an application to see if you would qualify for free or reduced price meals.  Applications are available on the District 25 website or from the office at your child’s school.


Coletta Hines Newell
Director of Food Services

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekly Update- April 7-11, 2014

Anybody else struggling with Spring Fever lately?

The Variety Show last Friday was a huge success! Congratulations to all who participated. I will be editing the school video and making it available for check-out in a few weeks.

Here are a few highlights from our week in Music Class:

Fifth Grade: We continued working to learn all of our music for the May 1st concert.

Fourth Grade: We continued studying the instruments of the Orchestra. This week our emphasis was Strings and Percussion. I found more great videos to share with students on YouTube. (See links below). Students will have a quiz on this information next week.

Strings Family

Percussion Family

I also shared the whimsical Disney Short video, "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, Boom", which is a fun way to learn about instruments of the orchestra. I remember watching this on a reel to reel projector when I was younger! (yes, I was that kid who always wanted to run the projector...)

Toot, Whistle, Plunk, Boom- Disney

Third Grade: We continued playing recorder in class, and practicing reading songs with B-A-G patterns. The students are getting much more confident in their technique! Students also learned more about American Folk instruments, and will have a quiz next week.

Primary Classes: Both First and Second grades spent time playing patterns on Orff instruments. I also shared the book "There's A Mouse About the House" by Richard Fowler, to go with our song "Mouse, Mousie."

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, April 4, 2014

What's Up In Music this Week? March 31st-April 4th

Greetings from the Music Room! Happy Spring! (Although the weather isn't quite cooperating as of yet!)

Here's what we have been doing this week in Music Class:

5th grade: We continued working on music selections for our May 1st concert. Students began learning an Orff part for "Don't Worry, Be Happy" on metallophones and xylophones. 

4th grade: We are studying the instrument families of the orchestra! This week we went into detail about the Woodwind and Brass families. Next week- Strings and Percussion! Atteched are a few links to the YouTube videos I shared in class. A few classes also played a counter-melody to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" on recorders. (GO CUBS!)

Brass Family

3rd grade: My third grade classes began a unit on American Folk instruments. We watched video examples of the Banjo, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Appalachian Dulcimer, and Accordion. We also played "Dulcimer, Dulcimer" on recorders, and reviewed the counter-melody for "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".

2nd grade: We learned "Let's Go Fly A Kite" from Mary Poppins, and played Orff instruments along with a fun little game song called "Mouse, Mousie".

1st grade & MA 1/2: I also taught these classes "Mouse, Mousie", and students played along on Orff and played the game with the song. We also sang "My Big Black Dog" and added a few fun movements to the song!

The Variety Show is tonight, 4/4, at South Middle School! We have some very talented acts this year, so I'm sure it will prove to be a great show!

Mr. Berger ./`

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Westgate Student Council is having a Donation Drive!

Please see the flyer below for more information. Donations will be given to children at NW Community Hospital. What a worthy cause, and a great way to show Kindness, Caring and Citizenship!

Student Council Gift Bag Flyer

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Date of the 5th Grade Concert Has Been Changed!!

Due to the annual safety patrol outing to the Cubs game, we have changed the date of our 5th grade concert from 
Thursday, April 24th to Thursday, May 1st
Please click on the link below for further information. 

Thank you!!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, March 14, 2014

This week in Music Class... March 10-14, 2014

Greetings again from the Music room! Here's the update for the week...

Our 5th grade classes continue work on learning their music for our April 24th concert!

Variety Show Act previews were Thursday, and we are very excited to have so many talented students participating this year!

4th grade classes spent time on some Irish folk music, and we discussed time signature and tempo.

3rd grade classes were back to using recorders, and reviewed St. Patrick Was A Gentleman. We also sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame! (Go Cubs!)

2nd graders practiced reading rhythms from the board and sang "I Bought Me A Cat". They also created their own versions to share in class next week!

1st graders completed their listening activity with "Peter and the Wolf", and will watch the video next week.

Have a great weekend!
Mr. Berger ./`

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The drums are gone, but not the fun!

Greetings, and Happy March! There are signs of the weather changing, the snow melting, and Spring seems to be on it's way! How many days until Spring Break? :-)

Here are a few announcements from the Westgate Main office:
Due to snow/cold days school will be in session on Thursday, March 20th and Friday, March 21st. Absent students will need to be reported to the office (847 506-6999 x7400)
Spring Break March 24th to March 28th

And now... the Music news!

We have completed our unit on World Music drumming, and the drums have moved on to Dryden school, where they will be enjoyed by the always exciting Mr. Deptula and the Dryden students. We will miss the fun rhythm and concentration games we did while the drums were with us, but we probably won't miss the noise!

This week, third and fourth grade classes are focusing on some Irish music to get ready for St. Patrick's day, while first graders are studying "Peter and The Wolf", and fifth grade students are working on music for their April 24th concert. Second grade students recently read and sang along with a short musical "The Bremen Town Musicians."

Act Previews for our Variety Show are this Thursday after school. We are looking forward to some great acts!

Have a super week!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, February 21, 2014

This week in Music class: Sochi Olympics, Russian Composers and Drum Unit!

The Sochi Olympic games have been very exciting to watch these past few weeks, and the USA is doing very well in the medal count! I have especially enjoyed how the network has been doing special segments about the culture, history and traditions of Russia. It's a great way to help people around the world understand more about the host country!

This week I was inspired to share information about several prolific composers from Russia, including Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Our 3rd-5th grade students experienced Russian folk melodies and viewed several YouTube video clips. (See links below) We also did some rhythm work on the drums, playing along with "Russian Sailor's Dance" by Russian composer Reinhold Gliere, and "Trepak" from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky.

Finale of 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky

Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee on Accordion

"Trepak" from The Nutcracker Ballet by Tchaikovsky

The Drum Unit continues!

2nd grade classes played "Rhythm Rockets", while our 1st and MA 1/2 classes made final preparations for their concert on Tuesday.

Students mark their 'rocket' to show which of 8 rhythm patterns Mr. Berger played for them. Great rhythm assessment! (Sometimes, I trick them by playing a pattern that isn't on the card!!)

Students quiz each other on the rhythms, too!

Rehearsing for our concert on the stage!

Two popular games we play during the drum unit are "Monster Pattern" and "Hide the Cow". Meet our mascots, Rhythm Monster and Celebration Cow!

 Students have to keep from playing the Monster pattern, or they have to go into the center of the drum circle- the Monster's Belly, AKA the Cookie-Jar! They can only return to the game if their classmates help them get back in by not playing the monster pattern.

Hide the Cow is like "Hot/Cold" games. One student hides the cow somewhere in the music room, and another has to find it by listening to the dynamic level (loud/soft) of the drums being played by their classmates. It gets pretty loud when they're close to finding the cow!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The MA 1/2 and 1st Grade Concert is coming soon!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Our students in first grade and MA 1/2 classes have been working very hard to prepare our concert music for our Westgate community! Parents of students in first grade or MA 1/2 classes, please click on the link below to read the important parent information letter. Thank you!
1st and MA 1/2 Concerrt: Parent Information Letter

Here's a sneak peek at one of our songs! "All The Way Around The World"

Have a great weekend!

Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, February 10, 2014

Success! The 3rd grade Chicago Symphony Field Trip was great!

 Last Friday, our third grade students had the great opportunity to attend a concert "Alien Invasion: Orchestra from the Planet X" at the Chicago Symphony! We took 126 students and 14 teachers to hear this wonderful program. As you can imagine, it was very crowded, and most seats  in Orchestra Hall were full of excited kids from the Chicago area.
The view from our seats in the upper balcony.
The concert began with two members of the Magic Circle Mime Company, dressed as aliens from the Planet X, playing around on the stage and creating the sense that they would be causing some intergalactic trouble for conductor Cristian Macelaru and the entire orchestra!

The bus ride down to Chicago!
A trio of excited third graders!
The audience enjoyed music selections from American composers, which were introduced by the conductor. At one point, the aliens came out and put a 'spell' on the orchestra, and later did the same to Maestro Macelaru! The students really enjoyed the zany antics of the visitors from the Planet X. 

Our Westgate students represented District 25 very well, being courteous and respectful during the program. It's not easy to sit and listen to music (without words) for 55 minutes! Thankfully, the mimes gave them plenty to watch while the music was being performed.
Is it almost time to start?
Our seats in the lower balcony- getting seated!

 The Westgate Third Grade teachers and support staff did a fantastic job of keeping the students organized before, during and after the concert. Many thanks to Mrs. Danley, Ms. Redmon, Mrs. Hynek, Miss Lambert, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Jensen, Mrs. Darby and all of the other adults who helped make this trip a success!
Making our way down the crowded staircase. 

After the concert... now, where are our busses?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Upcoming Events at Westgate- February 2014

Here are some upcoming events to be aware of:

Friday, February 7th- 
3rd Grade Field Trip to the Chicago Symphony

Friday, February 7th FUN FAIR 

Friday, February 14th Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 19th MONDAY SCHEDULE

Have a great week!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The 3rd grade field trip to the Chicago Symphony is next Friday!

Next Friday, February 7th, is our exciting field trip to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! The concert is titled: Alien Invasion- Orchestra form the Planet X, and will feature mime from guest artists Magic Circle Mime Company. How fun is that?
Magic Circle Mime Company
Our Westgate 3rd grade students have been preparing for this outing by learning about the composers and viewing clips on YouTube of the pieces they will hear next week. All of the music selections we'll experience at the CSO are by American composers!
I have shared a few of the links below so you can enjoy this great American music at home! (I apologize for the pop-up adds.)

Scott Joplin- The Entertainer

Aaron Copland- Appalachian Spring (Simple Gifts)

Aaron Copland- Hoe-Down from Rodeo

Leroy Anderson- The Typewriter

We have also been talking about proper audience etiquette. This includes: Entering the Symphony Center in an orderly and respectful manner, Listening to the guide as they help us find our seats, using the washroom before the performance begins, staying quiet and respectful during the concert, and applauding at the appropriate time. If you are the parent of a third grader, please take a few minutes to reinforce what good audience etiquette and behavior looks like. Thank you for your help!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, January 17, 2014

This week in Music Class...

Greetings from the most musical place in the building! Here's a recap of our week in Music class:

Our 5th grade students are doing a short unit on voice range- being able to identify singers as Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass. To help them learn more about each vocal range, I shared a clip from the CSO website in which professional soloists sing in Italian, along with the CSO and Symphony Chorus. See the link below for the full performance. The portion I shared begins at about 33:00, and continues until about 38:00.
Verdi Requiem:Chicago Symphony Orchestra

One of our very creative and humorous 5th graders made this statement during class on Wednesday. We had just been watching a video clip of Ricardo Muti conducting the Verdi Requiem at the CSO.
Student:"I feel sorry for anyone who has a conductor for a dad!"
Teacher: "Why?"
Student: "Because if he made you a sandwich, it would be really messy!"
We all had to laugh at that one! Mr. Muti is very expressive in his conducting style, so imagine him trying to spread peanut butter or mayo on a slice of bread!

Fourth grade classes are learning about Tempo, including Italian terminology, such as Largo (Very Slow), and Presto (Very Fast). I shared a fun video from MusicK8kids.com called Presto / Largo.
Presto / Largo video

Third grade classes learned a singing game that will allow me to assess their singing voice. They also had fun singing and playing a recorder counter melody on G & A to "Rockin' Robin" from their Making Music textbooks.

Our 2nd grade classes started a unit on instrument families of the orchestra. I shared the wonderful book "The Remarkable Farkle McBride" by John Lithgow, and they were introduced to "Luigi's Baton- The Orchestra Family Reunion" in Music Express magazine. These two resources are great for helping the students learn the sounds of the orchestra!

MA 1/2 and First grade classes continued learning the songs for their upcoming concert. They are off to a great start! The concert is February 25th.

Have a great weekend!

Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, January 13, 2014

Upcoming Events at Westgate- January Edition

Monday, January 20th and Tuesday, January 21st MLK Holiday Weekend NO SCHOOL

Friday, January 24th Intermediate Movie Night

Wednesday, January 29th Book Fair

Thursday, January 30th Westgate OpenHouse

January 29th (3:30-5:30PM) & 30th (6:00-8:30PM) Westgate Book Fair

Saturday, February 1st Project Linus at Westgate 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ice, Ice, All Around!

Here's a pretty COOL video that was shared by Mrs. Opitz, the music teacher at Ivy Hill.
Nature gives us many ways to make music! 

Looks like a fun way to enjoy the chilly outdoors.

**Note to parents: The video is great, but you want to stay away from the comments below. Some of the folks are not very careful about their language! :-(

Mr. Berger ./`

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Third Grade Chicago Symphony Trip Update- Permission Slip

Welcome back and Happy New Year!
The permission slips for our third grade field trip to the Chicago Symphony are going out either today or tomorrow. I have attached a copy below for your convenience.
We are looking forward to a great trip, and some high quality music!!

CSO Field_trip_Permission_Slip