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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

"Finding Myself" Theme Elementary Choral Program

I am not really a person who plans concerts by theme, so my elementary chorus spring concert was definitely not completely tied to a specific theme, but I managed to connect everything together under the loose idea of travel/ identity. All of the songs were great fits to challenge my choirs while keeping them excited and motivated, so if you're looking for some new selections to add to your next concert I highly recommend these!

I always do more non-English songs in the spring concert, so the traveling theme came naturally, and I also knew I wanted to do the song "Who I Am" by Wyn Starks with my older students, so I settled on the loose theme of "finding myself" as a way to tie everything together. The music from different cultures and languages are representative of the different cultural identities we have in our choirs, so they are also a way of exploring our identities/ finding ourselves, and the two pop songs have powerful messages both about being confident in our personal identities and being authentic/ true to themselves, but also the importance of community and friendship.

For context, I have 2 elective pullout choir classes that meet during the school day for 30 minutes once a week. One is a combined 5th and 6th grade chorus, and the other is a 4th grade chorus. This semester I had around 45 in the 4th grade chorus, and about 80 in the 5th/6th grade chorus. I focus on beginning choral pieces with canon and partner singing with 4th grade, and more parallel harmony, a capella singing, solo opportunities, and a mix of traditional choral and pop arrangements with 5th and 6th grade. Here are the songs I used for our concert:

4th grade chorus:
Bonse Aba

5th and 6th grade chorus:

Combined chorus:

I definitely pushed both groups with these songs- we most certainly did not coast to the performance! But they were exciting to learn and they learned so much through the process (and performed them so well in the end). I shared my chorus program from the winter concert, where I did a "stars" theme, in this post (these songs were a lot less challenging since it was the first semester).

If you want to read more about how and why I use pop songs in elementary chorus, here are two posts on that (with a running list of all the songs I have done):

If you want to read my teaching process for canon singing and partner singing in 3rd and 4th grade, here are my posts on that:

And you can catch up on all my posts related to all things elementary choir here! I hope this is helpful for anyone looking for selections for their next concert!

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