We love the creative way that Golden Grove Elementary in Palm Beach County, FL used The OrganWise Guys materials AND that the whole school and community partners got involved! Dr. Estibaliz Gastesi shared how an OWG musical show, performed by her students this spring, was inspired by an OWG Assembly. Not only was the entire school so excited for this special show, but students and faculty alike learned about the importance of taking care of their bodies. We spoke with Dr. Gastesi to get some background information on the performance, and how this creative show can be replicated in your own school.
Background – Dr. Gastesi has a doctorate degree in piano performance and has been teaching music for fourteen years. This is her fifth year at Golden Grove Elementary. In addition to working at the elementary school, she is very involved in her local music community. She is part of the piano duo Gastesi-Bezerra in Residence at Palm Beach Atlantic University and the handbell and chorus director. As music director at the school, she is always finding ways to add more music to the school community. Sometimes shows are performed like the OWG one that have a great message for the students, while other times chorus performances are done by students.
Getting Started – Her inspiration for the OWG show started when the cafeteria manager, Mrs. Dufford, approached her about the materials, specifically the OWG Assemblies that many schools use. Dr. Gastesi familiarized herself with the script then decided it would be a great starting point for a full on musical performance! Songs from the OWG CD were used, and different activities from art, PE, and cafeteria were integrated so it became a school-wide activity. For the costumes, they used recycled materials from trash, so the songs about plants, vegetables and taking care of our “garden” had a stronger message.
Practice, Practice, Practice – Students in first and third grade, as well as children taking chorus (3rd to 5th graders) were selected to perform in the show. The first and third graders learned the songs during music class while the chorus practiced after school. The children practiced once a week for about two months, and when the show was approaching, every day for a week.
Getting Support – From the beginning, the whole school was supportive of the performance. The School District of Palm Beach County provided Golden Grove Elementary with the OWG music, CD, etc. In addition, Mrs. Dufford got in touch with local farmers and they provided fruit and vegetables so samples could be offered to the parents and children during the show. Finally, all teachers, administration, and parents were very supportive and attended the show.
About Having your Own Performance – Dr. Gastesi says, “Go for it! Not only did the entire school have a wonderful time putting on the show, but the children learned so much about their bodies and taking care of themselves. It was a great experience!”