Niagara Falls, Ontario
At the end of April, the grade 5/6 Highbury Orff Club performed their program Water Ways – A Musical Exploration of Water's Journey, at Cascade 2018, the National Orff Conference in Niagara Falls. The 20-member group was one of 3 groups asked from across Canada to perform for the delegates. The group is conducted by Highbury music teacher, Sean Fitzmaurice with assistance from Heidi Serger, Julie Penny, and Angie Kuhnle. When Mr. Fitzmaurice put out the word that they were willing to come to area schools to share their work there was such a huge response that the Toronto Public School District arranged to set them up at a school and bused over 2000 students in to see the show.
Fitzmaurice loves what he does and states, "While we all had a lot of fun performing and learning new music, I think what struck me the most were the larger life lessons that students took away from this experience. We all know that music is way more than playing notes and singing; it helps foster creativity, build confidence, and develop character. This experience brought our community closer together and was a tremendous sense of pride for our school."
The students agreed that it was about so much more than the music. One student stated, "Being in Orff Club helped me prove to myself that I could do something big if I put my mind to it." Carl Orff developed an approach to music education that allows students to be creative as they use speech, movement, and song to express themselves. Water Ways exemplified this approach and provided students with an experience that will stay with them as they explore music throughout their lives.