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Notes from the Music Department: Spring 2023

Hello all,

We have had a wonderful year so far in the music department! By now, you have seen informances and performances from all of our programs across divisions.

Read below for highlights from the second part of the school year and a look ahead at our performance schedule. To view photos from our recent events, click here.

Jackie Martino
Director of Music

We have had TWO Calhoun Coffee Houses this year, where students from all divisions performed to standing-room-only crowds! The next and last Coffee House for the year will be in late May; the date will be announced after spring break.




In Lower School–Early Childhood, kindergarten students are getting ready for their performance on March 10. In addition to learning songs in Spanish, they have been creating choreographies, musical transitions and artwork for the story to come alive. First graders have been learning about Nina Simone and were super excited to sing "Young, Gifted and Black" for our Black History/Futures Month assembly on February 24. Second graders are exploring different instruments in the music room and beginning to learn what it means to be in an ensemble, listening to each other, improvising, understanding song form and creating music together.  


Informances were a great success! Mariana and Priscilla shared their Music & Español/Creative Movement collaboration classes with families and had the opportunity to connect and build community.

Check out the LS-EC Specialists Spot for more information.


In Lower School–Elementary, third grade students are enthusiastically practicing on their recorders to play melodies with B, A and G. They are working together as an ensemble and exploring call and response, improvisation, and reading music successfully. Fourth grade students are rocking out on the ukuleles as they collaborate and support each other to learn chords and bring their favorite songs to life. 

Fifth grade Strings are working on several songs together as an ensemble as we continue to work on instrument technique and music reading. We are having so much fun making music together and look forward to sharing some of what we’ve been working on at the June 8 concert. 

Check out the LS-E Curriculum Update for more information. 

As part of Black History/Futures Month, we hosted an assembly for the Lower School (K-5th grade) at 74th Street featuring The Sterling Strings Quartet. This ensemble of talented musicians played their beautiful adaptations of popular songs by Black artists such as Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come," and some more contemporary pieces, like Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" (which was a huge hit!). They ended the assembly with a rousing rendition of "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" and invited us to sing and clap along. 


In Middle School, each of the three Middle School Strings ensembles are in the thick of studying challenging and exciting music that we will share with the community on June 8! Sixth grade Strings were recently visited by New York Philharmonic bassist and Calhoun parent Satoshi Okamoto P'29, P'33 and NYPhil violinist Anna Rabinova. This year’s new Middle School Strings Club has also been abuzz with activity. Our MS Strings players are doing fantastic work! 






In the Upper School Vocal Workshop class, students had a wonderful performance in December where they showcased their solo work. Some students will also be performing at the upcoming Calhoun Benefit on March 11. 



The Upper School Strings Ensemble is working on exciting rep for our April 11 concert — a mixture of pop and classical works, as well as a brand new piece by visiting composer Laura Andel written specifically for the ensemble as part of the Calhoun Composition Initiative. It’s been thrilling to see our US Strings musicians working together on this rep and developing their skills at playing, composing and conducting in the process.


The Upper School Jazz Ensembles put on an amazing concert for Jazz Night I in the first week of February! Over 50 kids across all four grades performed in eight separate ensembles, playing music by Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and many other historical musical figures within the jazz canon.

Watch the Jazz Night I performance. 


In musical theater news, rehearsals are underway for Into The Woods! Come see the students perform with an 11-piece orchestra from Friday, April 28–Sunday, April 30.

Our After School Music program is busy every day with lessons in piano, voice, theory, woodwinds, guitar and strings! 

Upcoming Music Performances

We are thrilled in the music department to share with you our calendar of events so far through June 2023. We hope that you mark your calendars and attend as many music performances as you can!

  • Friday, March 10, 9am: Kindergarten Music, Spanish & Creative Movement Performance
  • Tuesday, April 11, 5:30pm: US Strings Ensemble Spring Concert
  • Friday, April 28–Sunday, April 30: US Theater Presents: Into the Woods 
    • Evening shows at 7pm & matinee shows at 2pm
  • Wednesday, May 3, 6:30pm: MS Chorus Concert
  • Tuesday, May 9, 6:30pm: US Chorus and Vocal Ensemble Concert
  • Friday, May 19, 9am: First Grade Music, Spanish & Creative Movement Performance 
  • Monday, May 22, 6:30pm: 5th, 6th & 7th Grade Winds & Brass Ensemble Performance
  • Wednesday, May 24, 6:30pm: 8th Grade & US Winds & Brass Ensemble Performance
  • Thursday, June 1, 6:30pm: US Jazz Night II Performance
  • Sunday, June 4, 11am: After School Music Year-End Concert
  • Thursday, June 8, 9am: LS-E Spring Music Performance
  • Thursday, June 8, 5:30pm: 5th Grade & MS Strings Concert


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