By John Anderson
Last week saw some interesting landmarks for Auburn students as the school year is winding down. Of course there was graduation and all the associated activities, but some much younger students had some accomplishments of their own. In a few weeks, Auburn’s Grade 5 students will move from the elementary level to the middle school level, and that is a big step.
All students participate in chorus, and they got to share their voices at last week’s Grade 5 concerts. A handful have taken up instrumental music, and played in performances of their own along with numerous solos. The progress in just a few months from the holiday concerts is remarkable and a testament to the quality of the music program. Collin Myers, the AMS instrumental music teacher, should look forward to integrating this talent pool.
Pakachoag Elementary had its concert on Wednesday evening. The chorus was directed by Music Specialist Mary Casey, and the band was conducted by Band Director Maria Garrow. In addition to favorites like ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ and ‘Ode to Joy’, students performed solo, duet and small group performances. The chorus performed seven songs and concluded with Pharrell Williams’ popular tune ‘Happy’.
Julia Bancroft was up on Thursday night, and Music Instructor Stephen Jaszek directed his last concert in Auburn Public Schools. He is retiring at the end of the school year after 35 years in elementary music education.
The band performed three songs with solo or small group numbers in between. The chorus sang four songs including ‘Memories Of Long Ago’, a composition by Mr. Jaszek, and ended their night with the very lively ‘Rhythm of Life’.
Mr. Jaszek has developed a style for handling young musicians, and he is obviously adored by the kids. At the end of Thursday’s concert, he was recognized by Principal Susan Lopez, Music Department Chair Charles Pietrello, and other music teachers from the district. Mr. Jaszek will be missed by all who have ever had the pleasure to interact with him as a student, parent or colleague.