For the third year in a row, the Arts LIVE for Three to FIVE! Harker Preschool Concert Series has brought talented middle and upper school performing arts students to the preschool to conduct music and dance programs.
This year’s concert series kicked off in January with an interactive program called The Human Voice, at which preschool students learned all about voice ranges, thanks to a visit by members of the upper school choir. The choir, along with their instructor Susan Nace, upper school performing arts teacher, performed vocal selections and demonstrated the differences between high and low voices in boys and girls, as well as what is meant by loud and quiet voices.
Then in February, the preschool students enjoyed their first dance performance when upper school dance teacher Rachelle Haun and her junior varsity dance team visited. Looking ahead, toward the end of May, the preschoolers will be visited by the middle’s school’s chamber music ensemble group, directed by Dave Hart.
Mara Beckerman, the preschool’s music and movement specialist, recalled that several years ago, Hart was the first teacher to accept her invitation to visit the preschool with some of his students. Beckerman came up with the idea for the concert series when the preschool opened its doors in fall 2013. Since then the concert series has grown each year.
During Hart’s first visit, the preschool students were enthralled to hear and touch a French horn, saxophone, harp, flute, violin and an enormous tuba, Beckerman recalled. “The student musicians each spoke about their instruments and played lovely selections for us that morning. The performance ended with a short ‘instrument petting zoo,’ where our 3- to 5-year-olds were guided by the student musicians and allowed to touch each instrument,” she said.
The students and staff could not stop talking about this concert for weeks, added Beckerman. “The students all shared which instrument they were going to play someday. The most petite girl in the school was very definitely going to play the tuba!”
Last year the grade 6 choir came for a concert, at which they sang a story and led the children in some movement activities. Another time, when Beckerman discovered that the father of one of her students sang with an a cappella group called Hookslide, she invited the group to perform at the preschool. “That day we heard some truly amazing harmonies and even learned to beat box,” she said.
Throughout the years, the preschool students have responded enthusiastically to the various concerts, repeatedly telling Beckerman that they look forward to having “the big kids” come out to perform. “They love it!” she said.