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, December 16, 2016

Fa La La! Ho Ho Ho! Want an update? Here you go!

Mr. Berger & Dr. Carter rockin' the ugly sweaters!
 Greetings and warm holiday wishes from the Westgate Music room! Just a quick update before we head off to winter break.

First of all, I'd like to personally thank all of the Westgate families who gave me gifts or cards this week. Whether it was manna gifts, baked goods, chocolates, or any other goodies, you made me feel very appreciated and cared for! Thanks again!

Getting ready for the sing-along! Fun times as a school community!
Our 5th grade concert is over, and the 5th graders did a tremendous job! Congratulations to all of our student performers. We watched the concert video in class this week, and had some good conversation and reflection time. Special thanks to Mrs. Dalton for being our videographer for the concert. Here's a link to the beautiful pictures taken by Mrs. Nebel. Enjoy!
5th Grade Concert photos

Our other grade levels have been experiencing music from winter traditions such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. We discussed that many families in our community might celebrate one or more of these traditions, while others celebrate other traditions, such as Diwali and Ramadan throughout the year.

Classes played bells, Orff instruments, classroom percussion, including jingle bells, and soprano recorders. We also watched some fun videos and danced to the beat. Here's a link to a favorite from the week: Cray Cray Christmas

We had our annual sing-along Friday morning, and it was really fun! Many teachers, and Dr. Carter, came up on the stage to help lead the songs with me!

Have a wonderful and safe winter break! We'll be back to make more music on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017.

Musically yours~

Mr. Berger ./`

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

JingleBells... Techno style!

Hello, and happy first snow week! I shared the following video with a few classes this week. Thought the Westgate community might enjoy it as well!


The young man in the video is my son, Cody. He played this in a concert over the weekend, and my wife posted it on social media. A friend made a few edits and added some cool techno music behind it, which is the version posted here. Needless to say, my wife and I are super proud of him!


Mr. Berger ./`

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Break Updates & Coming Attractions!

Happy Parent Teacher Conference / Thanksgiving week! I hope your conferences went well, and you are planning a fantastic turkey day. Listed below are a few highlights from the past few weeks, as well as a parent information letter for our upcoming 5th grade concert.

5th grade Concert Parent Information letter: This letter was sent home Friday, November 18th, and sent out by Dr. Carter in the weekly announcements email. Students have been preparing to share a concert about the "Magic Season" of winter, with themes of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other sights & sounds of winter.

Our 4th grade students have been working on singing partner songs from the caribbean, such as "Turn the World Around" and "Shake the Papaya Down." We also began reviewing recorder fingerings and learning to play an ostinato.

Students in second grade finished up viewing the video from their concert, and did a brief evaluation of their performance. It was great to read each reflection and to see which of the eight songs was their favorite! I also introduced them to the pentatonic scale with a cool video of Bobbie McFerrin (listed below), and they played rhythm patterns from the board on bells in a C pentatonic scale. We also did a turkey dance and sang the classic: Over the River and Through the Woods."

Bobbie McFerrin Pentatonic Scale demonstration

First grade and 1/2 Multi-Age students learned a song about a frog, and added bells and other percussion instruments as an accompaniment. I also shared the wonderful book, "I Know and Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie", and we added bells on the 'perhaps she'll die' part. They also learned a few songs for Thanksgiving, and did a turkey tango!

Kindergarten students learned "I'll Just Be Myself" and did the turkey tango.

Have a great week! We'll see you on Monday, November 28th.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Second grade concert is November 2nd! Info below...

Our second graders have been working hard on some really great music for their concert! Second grade families, please click the link below for all of the important concert info.

Second Grade Concert information letter

Have a great weekend!

Mr. Berger ./`

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chicago Symphony Get's in on the Cubs fever!

Here's the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Riccardo Muti, playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." 

CSO plays Take Me Out To the Ballgame

It's so great to see how music connects to the world of sports!


Mr. B./`

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Steel Drum Band plays Go Cubs Go!

Check out this neat tribute to the Cubs from Hatch School in the Chicago area!

Go Cubs Go! Hatch Elementary Steel Drum Band

I shared this with our intermediate classes this week.


Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, September 30, 2016

What's Up in Music?

Happy End of September/Beginning of October!

Here's a quick recap of our music activities these past few weeks:

5th grade: Fifty Nifty United States, Patriotic music, playing bells and Orff contrabass bars on a Song of Peace, and a fun warm-up song called "Proper Cup of Coffee"made popular by the group "Trout Fishing in America." The 5th graders enjoyed singing this song as it gets faster and faster!
Here's a link to Trout Fishing in America performing the song.

Proper Cup of Coffee Song

Students also began discussing our upcoming December 8th concert and gave ideas about the theme.

4th grade: We spent some time on the Song of Peace, with bell and Orff accompaniment for the international day of peace last week, and started learning the Cup Song this week.

3rd grade and 3/4 MA- See Miss Hennessy's blog for details! mshennessysmusicroom.weebly.com

2nd grade: Our students began learning music for their November 2nd concert! The theme will encompass Halloween, Election Day and Veteran's Day. They have also been playing a fun game called "Bow Wow Wow."

1/2 Multi-Age and 1st grade: These classes have been working on 'bulls-eye' solo singing with a few singing games.

Kindergarten: We have been learning new songs, working on remembering where we sit, and playing echo patterns on hand drums!

Have a great weekend, and GO CUBS!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Star-Spangled Banner: Smithsonian style

Greetings! Thanks for stopping by to see what's going on in the Westgate music room.

Last week, our students in 4th grade studied about the history of our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner. I shared the following website in class, so I thought I'd post it here as well! The Smithsonian Museum of American History has an amazing exhibit on the history of the flag that inspired the writer, Francis Scott Key, to draft a poem that later became our national anthem. My family had the privilege of visiting the exhibit this past summer, and it is amazing! Here is the link to the interactive Star-Spangled Banner activities on the Smithsonian website:
Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian

Have a great week! More updates to come later.

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, September 9, 2016

Week 2 Music Happenings~

Greetings! It's been a busy week here at Westgate. Thank you to all of the families who came out to Parent Night on Thursday. If you missed the PE, Music & Art presentation, or if you have questions about our programs, please feel free to contact Coach K (ekirschner@sd25.org), Mrs. Miller (bmiller@sd25.org), Miss Hennessy (ahennessy@sd25.org, or myself (gberger@sd25.org).

This week we have been singing Patriotic music in class, as well as reading rhythm and playing classroom instruments in our intermediate classes. Primary classes played a singing game called Old King Glory- practicing steady beat and singing with good tone. Kindergarten classes are working on 'name game' songs and singing a song called "I'm So Glad to Be Here".
5th graders "synergize" to play rhythms with "This Land is Your Land"

Reading rhythm and working together
On a personal note: I had the honor of singing the National Anthem at Arlington Racetrack last Friday afternoon. My wife and I auditioned in the spring and were chosen to sing, but, due to a schedule change, I had to sing the anthem by myself. It was such a great experience, and was fun to have a few Westgate families there to support me! Mrs. Dalton and Mrs. Repak were kind enough to video the performance, so I have included it below. Enjoy!


One more thing... I am performing in "Horizons of Gold" over the next four weekends, and I would like to invite Westgate families to come and see the show! It's family friendly, with a great musical score and a message of hope, overcoming trials in life, and the power of love. Please visit www.overshadowed.org for ticket information.

Have a great weekend!
Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, September 2, 2016


Hey Westgate family! Welcome back to the 2016-17 school year! I hope you all had a great summer!

We have a brand new music teacher joining the Westgate community this year. Her name is Ms. Hennessy, and she will be teaching all of our 3rd grade classes, in addition to our 3/4 MA, one kindergarten class, and one 4th grade class. She is full of energy and fresh ideas!

I had a musical summer~ starting with a Ukulele class, then a trip to Washington DC and New York, and I'm currently performing in a musical play "Horizons of Gold" with Overshadowed productions in Medinah! Below are a few pics from our trip.

Standing near the Washington Monument. It was hot!

The iconic gate at NYU.

Lady Liberty- That's as close as we got!

The Gettysburg museum- Music instruments of the Civil War. 

Seeing Les Miserables on Broadway! So great!

A quick pic with the star- John Owen-Jones. He was amazing!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Kindergarten Music program! Super Cuteness!

Three cheers for the Red, White, and Blue!
Our kindergarten students did a super job performing their concert this past Tuesday! Both the AM and PM classes sang their hearts out and had a blast performing for their families. It was fun to see them come out of their shells and let their little lights shine! Congratulations to all of our talented kindergarten students!
Moving to "Wild Horses" from Carnival of the Animals

Friday, May 13, 2016

What's Up in Music Class? Week of May 9-13

It's been a fun week here in the music room! We've been singing folk songs from America and other countries(1st and 1/2MA), learning about American folk instruments (3rd & 3/4MA), learning a Samba from Brazil (4th), watching our concert video and learning new songs (5th), and doing a fun Hula song for H 'Hawaii' day! Third grade students will be starting Soprano recorder soon! An order form was sent home, and is due along with the $5.50 fee by next Friday, 5/20. Thank you!

Our 2nd graders learned a Hawaiian folk song 'kapulu kane', and did a stick activity with the song. It's fun, and the kids had to practice their 'synergy' to tap the sticks at the right time!

Friday, May 6, 2016

5th Grade Concert Was a HUGE Success!

Mrs. Clark and I want to send a big shout out to all of our 5th grade classes for a great concert performance on Thursday night! Each class had the opportunity to do a special number, and then they combined to sing several songs, such as Fifty Nifty United States and Watch As We Walk On Our Way.
  Students played BoomWhackers, Bells, Orff Instruments, Percussion, and even did a sword dance! Great job, 5th grade leaders!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Jazz Appreciation Month!

April is Jazz Appreciation Month! Do you enjoy Jazz music? Be sure to share it with your kids!

We have been experiencing several Jazz styles in class- from Swing to Vocal Jazz, from Bebop to Big Band. Featured artists included: Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis! Jazz is 'where it's at!'

I shared the following website with our 4th grade classes: www.nafme.org
The National Association for Music Education website is featuring a cool Jazz education series, including short, informative clips from drummer Bryan Carter and his band. We viewed the videos on Improvisation and Swing. It was hip and happenin'!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Elgin Symphony Field Trip Highlights!

Our students in 3rd and 3/4 MA classes had a wonderful time at the Elgin Symphony, which was held at the Hemmens Auditorium. The concert was titled "The Garden of Your Mind." 

Students were greeted by friendly Hemmens staff, and were ushered to their seats in a quick and efficient way. (They really do a great job there at the Hemmens! Very audience friendly.)

The screens featured information for each piece of music!
 Our students were treated to music from several major musical time periods, including the Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. Members of the ESO took turns explaining each piece, which made the experience even more child friendly and educational for the audience! Special thanks to our parent chaperones and our teachers for making this a great field trip!

The order of music was as follows:
1. Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein

2. Overture to The Impresario by W.A. Mozart

3. Symphony No. 7, II Allegretto by Beethoven

4. Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas from Mother Goose Suite by Maurice Ravel

5. Tunnels from Music from Underground Spaces by Mason Bates

6. Flight to Neverland from Hook by John Williams
Students entering the Hemmens. Excited!

Flight to Neverland- A crowd favorite!

What is this ancient technology?? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Preparations for the ESO field trip!

Our 3rd and 3/4 Multi-age classes will be attending the Elgin Symphony for a concert on Wednesday, April 13th. We have been preparing by listening to each piece the orchestra will play, as well as learning about the lives and music of the composers.

This week, students had the opportunity to visit an 'art gallery' in music class, featuring Impressionist artists Monet, Renoir, Mary Cassatt, and Degas, to go with the music of French composer Maurice Ravel, who lived at the same time.
Special thanks to Mrs. Miller for loaning us the beautiful artwork for our 'gallery'!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Special Announcement~ 5th grade concert has been rescheduled

Please be advised that the 5th grade concert has been rescheduled. The original date was Thursday, April 7th, and the new date is Thursday, May 5th. Please contact Mr. Berger or Mrs. Clark with questions or concerns.

Thank you!

Mr. Berger ./`

Thursday, March 10, 2016

First and Second Grade Concert Was a Fluttering Success!

 Our first and second grade students performed their late winter concert on Tuesday, March 8th. The concert was titled "Butterflies in the Barnyard", and the theme was songs about butterflies and the growth cycle. The students did a great job, and performed with great energy! Special thanks to Mrs. Naunheimer for taking amazing pictures, and to Mrs. Dalton for taking the video for us!

Mrs. Clark leads "Barnyard Boogie".

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March is Music in Our Schools Month! Celebrate Music!

Here's a quote on Why Music Education is important from www.FreddietheFrog.com:

  • Music causes the mind to think smarter.
  • Medical scans track brain activity.
  • Music is one of the very few whole brain activities, engaging all four parts of the brain!  All other tasks use either the left or right brain. Music exercises all of the brain.
  • How?
When playing music, the mind chooses how fast or slow to play, with what style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling.  It also tells the fingers when to move, reads and memorizes.  When playing music, you do ALL of this at the SAME TIME!
  • The more you play, the more you exercise your mind.  The exercised mind thinks better, making a student smarter.
  • A high percentage of band, choir, or orchestra members get good grades in school.
  • Band kids aren’t smarter because they like music; band kids are smarter because they PLAYmusic.
  • If an athlete would be well-suited and prepared for a physically demanding job, doesn’t it make sense that music instruction would mentally prepare a person for a mentally challenging job?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

First and Second Grade Concert is coming soon!

Please see the letter below for information on our upcoming first and second grade concert. Our students in first and second grade classes are excited to perform on Tuesday, March 8th at 7:00 in the Westgate commons.

Concert Information Letter

Have a great week!

Mr. Berger ./`

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mr. Berger performs in a play, starting tonight!

Have you noticed that Mr. Berger has some extra facial hair these days? No, he's not thinking of becoming a lumberjack- he's in a play! The play is called BookMark, and it opens this evening! It is a faith-based story about Mark, the gospel writer, as he interviews those who were alive and witnessed the events that took place during the life and death of Jesus. Mr. Berger plays three roles in this inspiring production~ the disciple Peter, a Merchant, and an old man named Jairus. If you'd be interested in attending this family friendly play, please visit www.overshadowed.org for details and tickets. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Brush With a Patriot... Humble leader visits Westgate!

What a great surprise it was as New England Patriots back-up QB and Westgate Alumnus Jimmy Garoppolo came to visit us today! He spoke about his career, his time here at Westgate, life an an NFL quarterback, and, how he remembered playing Hot Cross Buns on recorder in Mr. Berger's music class! What fun! Thanks, Jimmy for taking time to visit today! We're all very proud of you!