Head's Blog

Chris Williamson 

I thought I would connect as we break for vacation and share some highlights of the past week. We have had a Mardi Gras parade this morning, an Upper School versus faculty staff basketball game Tuesday, Foreign Language Week celebrations which included different language tables and graces, Pajama Day in the Fitchburg Preschool, Eighth Grade snow re-scheduled History Day requirements, and the Marshall Fund Adam Ezra residency – all in a week shortened by Monday’s snow day!

While all of that has been happening, our teachers have continued to focus on moving ahead with the curriculum, including last period classes in Upper School this afternoon! Time is in some ways the most valuable resource in schools. At Applewild, we find ways to bend and stretch time to accomplish what the Heath brothers explain are so important in The Power of Moments.

The Marshall Fund residency provides a glimpse into the power of these moments. It was wonderful to have so many parents able to join us for the Adam Ezra Group’s concert, featuring songs written by our fifth – eighth graders. Part of Adam’s inclusive vision of how music creates community included featuring a Frank Bonanno saxophone solo in one song and the entire Symphonic Band backing up the K – three children in the last song (before the “rock concert” encore!). 

Adam’s process began with students brainstorming ideas based on one of three different musical themes Adam developed for each grade.  Each grade chose one of the themes, then they brainstormed ideas that the theme triggered. That led to creating characters or settings (and even choosing the orchestration!). Then came the specific words and the title.

For example, the poignant 8th grade song (Time to Say Goodbye -- which I suspect we may hear again!) is about a "she" being hit by a rock. The origin of that idea was three boys in the class recalling throwing blocks around the classroom in kindergarten. The students decided the song would be stronger artistically if they changed the narrator and the event, so it became about a girl being hit by a rock. Each grade’s lyrics morph from personal ideas into an expression of what that grade wants to express about their musical theme. Below are the eighth grade lyrics, and you can also click on the lyrics to the other grades’ songs. The fifth grade song, as Adam noted, is actually entitled "All Kinds of Brave" because the students changed it to shift the focus of the theme.

Adam and violinist Corinna Smith both spoke effusively about their experience with our students. Corinna (who has some experience as a teacher) called them "incredibly thoughtful and creative," and Adam was impressed by how primed they were to engage and be authentic.

Music indeed strengths community, and that is one of Applewild’s enduring strengths. I look forward to sharing that community with our students again this spring. In the meantime, enjoy the break!

Time to Say Goodbye
by The Applewild 8th Grade & Adam Ezra Group

verse 1:

kindergarten, first day of class

all the kids that she doesn't know, out there on the grass

she feels the pain of the rock that's thrown, hittin her from behind

turns around, sees the face of the friend she'd have for the rest of time

chorus:

sun's gotta set, moon's gotta rise

the young are strong, the old are wise

fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly

we gotta go, it's time to say goodbye

say goodbye

verse 2:

8th grade, graduate, leaving the place we love

big decision, where to go, starting over could be rough

will we miss our friends when school year ends, will we wish we could go back?

life unfolds, the wheel it rolls, can't pull it off the track

chorus

bridge:

memories flow, 9 years ago, the way we used to play

here we are, come so far, graduation day

every goodbye means that there's adventure up ahead

every tear is for a friend we never will forget

chorus:

sun's gotta set, moon's gotta rise

the young are strong, the old are wise

fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly

we gotta go, it's time to say goodbye

say goodbye

say goodbye

say goodbye


Links to other song lyrics

Seventh grade – Like Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey

Sixth grade – I’ll Be Fine

Fifth grade – All Kinds of Brave

Taylor Poucel