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

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!