Truro students to perform at Orff conference

Published on April 8, 2014
Almost 100 students from Truro Elementary School are performing at the National Orff Conference in Halifax on Saturday. Some of the performers include, from left, Mackenzie Boudreau, Grace Christie, Syra MacGillivray, Keegan Crowe, Ava Martin, Jesse Cameron, Avery MacPhee and Adam Fox.
Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News

TRURO - Local elementary students have an opportunity this weekend that may not come again.

Almost 100 students in grades four and five at Truro Elementary School get to perform at the National Orff Conference.

"I was excited when I found out we were chosen to perform," said music teacher Belinda Fraser. "I was so happy and the kids are very excited as well."

The conference, which takes place in Halifax on Saturday, will feature about 300 music teachers from coast to coast in attendance.

The Truro students are one of three groups that was successful in applying to perform.

"Orff is very small, by means of the numbers who practice the philosophy in Nova Scotia," said Margaret Kristie, an Orff music specialist who has been working with Fraser and the students. "Those that do practice it are centralized in Halifax and we wanted them to know there are others in Nova Scotia that practice the Orff philosophy."

The philosophy combines the elements of speech, rhythm, movement dance and song, all the while including improvisation - the instinct children have to create their own melodies and explore their imaginations.

"The main thing with the Orff approach is that every child can succeed in developing musical skills," said Kristie, adding a lot of musical therapy is based on the Orff approach.

For at least two of the students, the Orff approach is a fun thing.

"I really like that we don't all play at the same time," said Adam Fox, a Grade 5 student. "I think that's really cool and I'm looking forward to playing at the conference."

The 10-year-old was going to be a dancer in the performance, however, he gave that part away and now plays the xylophone.

"I like that our class is going to be performing it in French," said Mackenzie Boudreau, 11, also in Grade 5. "And I like that it's all different - it doesn't all have to be the same."

Students that are performing at the conference come from various classes - one Grade 4 class, two Grade 5, and a split 4/5 class.

Fraser said this is the second year the students have been learning the Orff philosophy as part of their curriculum.

"The students performed for the first time at our spring concert last May, and we used that opportunity to videotape it and used it as our audition for the conference," she said. "We picked a different group from last year's students to participate in the conference, but there are a few that are from the group last year."

The students will perform on Saturday at 10 a.m. The performance is their composition and improvisation to Leon Dubinsky's ‘We Rise Again.'

The performance will include three themes - the faces of the children, the voices of the children and waves.

"Each class will interpret one of those themes between performing. Those kids wrote the performance for the faces and voices," said Kristie.

Along with the performance, the students will visit the Discovery Centre and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

They'll be performing ‘We Rise Again' for family and friends in Truro at the school's spring concert, set for May 6 at 6:30 p.m. The concert will also feature the beginner and junior bands, Primary-1 choir, Grades 2-5 choir and the guitar club.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa