Salisbury Township School District celebrated “Music In Our Schools Month” as designated by The National Association for Music Education this past March. Students in schools across the country are a part of a variety of celebrations. Here in Salisbury, each teacher planned and executed celebrations in their own building. “The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that schools is where all children should have access to music.” (NAFME)
Elementary students participated in dancing to Irish music and singing songs of Irish origin, particularly “Pat on the Railway”, “Everyone is Irish” and “The Emerald Isle”. Grades 2 through 5 learned a circle dance called Irish Stew which was danced to music called “The Rakes of Mallow”. The 5th grade worked with 6/8 time and played rhythms to O’Sullivan’s March” using instruments. All classes became acquainted with the Irish harp and the bodrhan, a popular frame drum used in Irish music. We talked about how immigrants influenced music in America and how music was used to enrich life and bridge the gap between people of different ages, races and countries.
The K, 1, and 2 students continued to practice their songs for their concerts which were a big success. The theme of this year’s program was “Music in our Schools” and many songs were about how music is also math, history, reading and spelling, Many parents came and enjoyed the concerts at each elementary school. The 3rd grade is practicing hard and is looking forward to their concert that will be in May. All of the elementary concerts will be aired on the district’s RCN tv station. Ask the principals for broadcast days and times.
Middle School students enjoyed a QR code scavenger hunt featuring music related to classroom instruction. Every morning a clue to a location in the building was announced on SMS Live and in a Google Classroom account. Students found the code, scanned it, then submitted the music video title to win a daily prize. Examples included “Walk Like an Egyptian” posted outside Mrs. Yurconic’s classroom where students learn about ancient civilizations, or “Stayin’ Alive” outside Mrs. Magan’s classroom where students practice CPR. Middle School Band members also made signs promoting music and what they enjoy about learning music in school. Several posts were made on social media showing daily music classroom instruction as well.
At Salisbury High School, students in band and chorus kicked off MIOSM with cake and cookies and filled out forms for our hallway display celebrating the theme “Music Inspires.” Students and staff also added answers to the posters with music questions such as, “What song do you want played at your wedding,” and “If you could meet any musician, living or dead, who would it be?” Our a cappella group, Descant Get Enough, took a falcon period to travel to classrooms to sing and a section of chorus went to the lunchroom to serenade the people there.
The high school students were also proud to be featured on the school Facebook page highlighting their activities and achievements throughout the month. Videos of Descant, the concert chorus, and the concert band were shared with the community. Photos of students in all of our performing groups were also shared along with images promoting the high school musical and other music activities that the students participate in. Using social media is a great way to let the community know about the amazing things our music students are a part of and MIOSM is the perfect time to do this.
Meet our Performing Arts Staff
Ms. Rachel Reinecke, Department Chair Visual and Performing Arts
Ms. Reinecke is the high school music teacher and has taught in the Salisbury Township School District for more than 20 years. Her current responsibilities include Concert Chorus, Concert Band, Descant Get Enough (a cappella group), Give Me Fortissimore (jazz band), beginning piano, advanced piano, advanced instrumental, music production and world music classes. In addition, she helps students prepare to audition for and participate in PMEA District Band and Chorus and Lehigh County Band and Chorus. Ms. Reinecke believes that students participating in music performing ensembles create connections in an increasingly disconnected society in addition to actively engaging in critical thinking, creativity and communication. Ms. Reinecke also believes that students studying music will learn the 21st Century Skills necessary to be competitive in today’s society.
Mrs. Betsy Gaston
Mrs. Betsy Gaston has been teaching music in the Salisbury Township School District for 13 years. During that time, she has taught all grade levels-elementary, middle and high school. Currently she teaches general music at both Western Salisbury Elementary and Harry S Truman Elementary Schools. Vocal music and World Music Drumming are her specialties and she brings her passion for both to her students, meeting them at their level. For over 30 years she has been the director of an adult church choir of 25 voices. She is also the keyboard accompanist for her husband, who is a violinist, for a variety of occasions such as weddings. Mrs. Gaston feels that children need to have a creative and positive hands-on experience in singing, movement and classroom instrument playing to build a foundation for an appreciation and critical ear for all types of music. Her work with adults has cemented the proof that an active participant in and listener of music begins as a child. Science and medicine have also proven that children who make music develop listening, verbal and tonal memory and mathematical skills more quickly than those who do not. In addition, making music is FUN!
Mrs. Angela Mosely
Mrs. Angela Mosley teaches general music and chorus at SMS and directs the Falcon Marching Band. Prior to teaching at Salisbury she taught elementary general music in the Bethlehem Area School District. Mrs. Mosley plays piano, clarinet, and sings with the Allentown Symphony Chorus. Her work at Salisbury has been highlighted in Teaching Music, the magazine of the National Association for Music Educators.
Mrs. Mosley believes music connects us to other people across cultures and time. The struggles, hopes, and joys experienced by people in the United States and all over the world are told and remembered through songs. Music helps shape our culture and our culture influences our music. Middle School music class allows us to explore music’s role in our lives, our society, and our history. It helps us listen and think critically, create, collaborate, develop team-building and leadership skills, communicate with others, and express ourselves.
Mr. Stan Griffis
Mr. Griffis is a native of Montrose, Pa and a graduate of Wilkes Univerity. He teaches Instrumental Music at both Elementary and Middle School as well as Middle School Jazz Band.