March 11, 2010 was a big day for students and their music teachers across the United States and elsewhere in the world who participated in MENC’s annual World’s Largest Concert® (WLC®).
The concert program was as diverse as the students and teachers participated in the concert:
1. The Green Anthem
2. Beautiful World
3. America Goes West
4. Horch, was kommt von draussen rein?
5. This is My Song
7. Children of the World
8. The Star-Spangled Banner
Many music educators prepared for months for the concert, teaching students new songs, rehearsing, and in some cases developing costumes and props. Community members were enlisted to help, paperwork was completed, concert venues reserved. Several MENC members shared their WLC experiences with MENC:
Gale Winds, Las Vegas Day School (Yes, that is her real name. She is a woodwinds specialist.):
“Preparations were very exciting because we had a very large group of 500 students in grades one through five rehearse to videotape for the WLC. All the students wore navy blue shorts and shirts with bandanas and cowboy hats. The most exciting aspect for me as that 100% of the student body was able to participate. It was a really concerted effort on the part of the administration, staff, parents and students.
The students enjoyed singing along to the DVD in a small group. We were able to have interesting discussions about the variety of songs and the different ways in which they were presented. We do several musicals throughout the school year at the Las Vegas Day School and I believe it was both educational and enjoyable for the students to see and hear others perform as they do. The videotape process was another area of discussion that gave the students and idea of the challenges and patience required in creating a ‘music video’ for ‘America Goes West.'”
“Hats off!” directs Las Vegas Day (Nevada) School Music Teacher Gale Winds. Her students performed “America Goes West” for the World’s Largest Concert.
Sue Piombo, music teacher at Lenox Elementary School in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey said:
“Under my direction, for the second consecutive year Lenox Elementary School in participated in MENC’s World’s Largest Concert. The success of last year’s submission and support from principal, Vincent Iraggi, inspired them to once again be a part of this event.
I selected the German folk tune ‘Horch, was kommt von draussen rein?’ Principal Iraggi at our school enthusiastically scouted the area for a setting which would be appropriate for the tune. A unique German-style home was chosen and contact was made with the home owners who could not have been more thrilled to have their lovely home featured in our project. The fifth graders rehearsed the song lyrics and learned the choreography. Costumes and a German om-pah band added to the fun!
While the concert taping features fifth grade students, the sing-along participation included the entire student body of Lenox School as well as chorus students from the district’s middle and high school.
The World’s Largest Concert celebration for Music In Our Schools Month has prompted the Lenox School music department to involve and reach out to community members, administrators, fellow teachers, parents, and students. The work required to prepare and participate in the concert has been well worth the effort. The feeling of pride and a sense of accomplishment was felt by all involved and they look forward to making this a yearly event!”
Sue Piombo, music teacher at Lenox Elementary School in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, selected the German folk tune “Horch, was kommt von draussen rein?” for her students’ performance. This is the house where they taped their concert segment.
Tim Nelson and Gail Snyder, music teachers at Nelson-Wilks-Herron Elementary School Mountain Home, Arkansas, said:
“Participating in MENC’s World’s Largest Concert was an amazing learning experience for us. We taught ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ much more carefully, thoroughly and deeply than we had ever taught it in the past.
We have always included lessons on ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ in our curriculums, but because we knew that our students would be seen by a much larger audience we wanted to help our students put their best foot forward. The World’s Largest Concert provided motivation for our students (and their music teachers) to spend more time learning our National Anthem. As a result, all of the students in our school – about 900 1st-3rd graders – have a much deeper understanding of the history and story behind ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and can sing it much better than in years past.
[We] were amazed at the amount of details required to film the students. Our students perform in large-scale musical performances once a year so we were very knowledgeable about the work involved in planning for this type of performance. However, as we were in the process of preparing for the WLC we realized that it took just as much careful planning and teaching to film one song as it did to get our students ready for a musical!
It really made us appreciate the work of teachers and students appearing on past WLCs even more. Both [of us] feel very fortunate and proud to have had our students be a part of MENC’s World’s Largest Concert. The students have been eagerly awaiting to see themselves on TV over the past 3 months. As we watch the student’s faces when they finally see themselves on the TV, we know that all of the planning and rehearsing for the WLC was worth every second. MENC’s World’s Largest Concert provided a wonderful and meaningful learning experience for our entire school!”
Tim Nelson and Gail Snyder, music teachers at Nelson-Wilks-Herron Elementary School in Mountain Home, Arkansas, said the WLC performance was “an amazing experience and a meaningful learning experience for our whole school.” Here Snyder directs the students. Photo by Krista Huskey.
Elizabeth Kelch, music director at Rockdale (Illinois) School said:
“Participating in “MENC: World’s Largest Concert” was a great experience. The students really enjoyed the song selections and I was able to incorporate the songs into all of my music classes. The lesson plans that were provided by MENC were outstanding.
When we received the news that our video footage was selected to be used in the concert, this became a great advocacy tool. Our entire school and community was anxiously a waiting for March 11, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.(central time) to arrive. I would recommend to every music teacher to experience participating in this event at least once in their musical career.”
Cheryl Burford, music specialist at the Clyde Erwin Elementary Magnet School Of International Studies and Cultural Arts in Jacksonville, North Carolina, said:
“I really enjoyed the planning process for the WLC. I worked closely with my fourth grade team concerning ‘Koinobori.’ The children studied Children’s Day, designed and created their own carp flags made from garbage bags, and participated in their own Children’s Day celebration. The children used some of their carp for the video.
We taped the National Anthem on location at the Beirut Memorial. Jacksonville is a military town. I was impressed with the connections the students made about the memorial.
All in all, this experience has been a very educational and rewarding one, not only for me but for my students.”
MENC featured other teachers who participated in the WLC.
Did Your School Participate in the WLC? Get a certificate.
Visit the MENC Chorus Forum and share your own WLC experiences.
—Roz Fehr, March 11, 2010. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education