In March each year, schools throughout the United States and overseas celebrate Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®) with concerts and other events that call attention to the benefits of music education. A key element of the month-long celebration is MENC’s World’s Largest Concert® (WLC®), performed this year on Thursday March 12.
Students at H.D. Cooke watch themselves in the WLC.
One particularly joyful celebration took place on March 12 at H.D. Cooke Elementary School in Washington, DC, where students, teachers and school administrators gathered in the cafeteria to watch and sing along with the WLC program.
Students and teachers were particularly excited because H.D. Cooke students were featured in the concert singing “Ev’rybody Say Peace.” When students appeared on screen, loud applause and cheers filled the room.
Principal Kathleen Black
The cafeteria was decorated with student-designed WLC banners. Principal Kathleen Black said school officials were “very excited” to be included in the WLC. She also said that she was pleased with the variety of musical experiences that music teacher Carolyn Sweterlitsch brings to her students, from choral music to world drumming: “We have a good music program here and the students enjoy the creativity of it.” Sweterlitsch also talked about how hard students had worked on their performance.
Music teacher Carolyn Sweterlitsch discusses the World’s Largest Concert on March 12.
“The students in the choir are in 4- 6th grade, I think we had about 19 in the video, we have 23 in the choir now. Everyone was very excited about seeing the choir, and I got more boys asking to join after the event, which is always good,” Sweterlitsch said.
“I decided on Ev’rybody Say Peace, because I was most familiar with that song, and it seemed like a good upbeat piece to start learning first thing in the year, especially when I had not had time to work with my singers much yet.
“The rest of the students really enjoyed watching all the kids in the DVD and hearing choirs from all over, as they were singing along. It was definitely a special day for everyone, and a great way to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month!”“
Ariana Santana sang along but watched the WLC video as well.
At the back of the room, seven-year-old student Ariana Santana used a song sheet to follow along with the music, keeping an eye on the video as well. At one point as a student sang a solo, she said admiringly, “She has a nice voice.”
Ariana’s teacher, Rachel Rosenberg, teaches second and third grade. She said that she enjoys watching her students participate in the music classes. “I could step out and do something else, but I love to hear the kids sing. The music is great,” Rosenberg said.
All photos by Becky Spray, MENC staff
— Roz Fehr, March 19, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education