No Rests for the Animals

To a first grade student, resting is such a Kindergarten activity. First graders are much too grown up for naps. I am sure you could deprive a first grader of sleep for days, to the point that she or he could hardly keep his or her eyes open, but then ask her or him to lay down on a bed and she or he would lie there wide-eyed and extremely put-out for hours.

After the Raccoon #1 concert in the Fall, and now the Spring “Animals, Animals, All Around!” first grade vocal music concert, I have determined there is yet another kind of rest that first graders have no time for: music rests. After all, goes the first grade philosophy, you’re up there to sing, so sing. Why waste time on all that standing around? A group of first graders will always give you a Readers Digest version of a piece of music.

So, on April 24 (yes, just days after the twins were born and hours after they had arrived home) Harrison laid aside his raccoon costume and joined the chorus for “Animals, Animals, All Around!.” All of the Pleasant Ridge first grade classes participated, which made for a very full gym on a warm spring evening. I took The Musician and Grace to the concert. Sarah made the great sacrifice of staying home with the twins.

Rests or no rests, I enjoyed every bit of the concert. Even without the racoon costume Harrison was impressive and cute.

Video of each selection is available below. The quality of the video is compromised somewhat by the following factors:

  1. Audio conditions in the gymnasium were less than ideal. You will notice that very few concert albums are recorded in elementary gymnasiums, particularly gymnasiums that are filled with young brothers and sisters.
  2. We were seated near the back of the venue, having arrived only 10 minutes early. I suspect the good, caring parents had camped out in front of the school the night before to get good seats near the front.
  3. The gymnasium did not provide stadium seating. We saw the backs of lots of heads.
  4. Views not obstructed by heads were often obstructed by video camera held aloft by people like me.
  5. I was serving both as cameraperson and as a jungle gym to a three year-old. The roles are not compatible.

On the plus side, the video is zoomed in on HJ much of the time. The overall effect is of Harrison singing along with a crowd of children in a earthquake shelter during an aftershock.
This video is rated DR (Dramamine recommended).

Lion Brave and Mighty
Very cute impressions of a lion being brave and mighty. No rests.


“Something something something, Bobolinka . . .”. See if this isn’t stuck in your brain if you watch the full five (!) minutes of this song. This video selection shows one of the features of the concert: A Jumbotron-style live projection of video captured by a camcorder in the font row. While it didn’t include a text feed of current performers, songs, or other titles, it did feature text such as “REC”,”HD”, and an indication that the camcorder was running off of AC rather than DC power.

Five Little Monkeys

This was an interesting demonstration not of music, but of using different “voices”. As they recited the “Five Little Monkeys” rhyme, the students were instructed to use voices such as soft, loud (an obvious favorite), low (in pitch), and piercing screech. They did quite well.

Red Dragonfly

Harrison was featured on the Jumbotron for this tune, although it’s tough to tell from my handheld camera video of the dim projection of another handheld camera video. Harrison played one of the xylophones. He had a name for the instrument that I didn’t recognize and couldn’t begin to spell. I could tell he was starting and stopping in the right place. I couldn’t tell anything about the notes from the back of the gymnasium, but, after all, given the family he’s from (and his performance as Racoon #1) I sure he got it exactly right.

Miss Mary Mack

As the father of a boy, therefore entrusted with the job a guarding my son’s masculine image, I was a little uncomfortable with Miss Mary Mack. This is clearly intended as a clapping or jump-rope song. These songs are sung by girls. At least they were when I was little. Maybe things have changed now, but I found myself thinking “Why not just put dresses on the boys and have them sing CC My Playmate?”.

That’s not sexist, is it?

Really? OK, forget I said anything. But in my day . . . never mind.

Somebodys Knockin

Performers sometimes worry about losing the attention of their audience, but in the first grade the danger is more the other way around. Frankly, they phoned this one in. Maybe they were saving themselves for the finale.

Over in the Garden

This one was largely a rest for the vocalists, with the Jumbotron focus on xylophonists in the front. Since it wasn’t Harrison’s class playing the instruments, and I had my camera focused on him, this is mostly just video of Harrison standing there, occasionally mouthing the words, while a few of his classmates forget they aren’t supposed to sing. If resting for a whole beat or measure is hard, imagine a first grader trying to lay out for a whole chorus.

Octopus’s Garden
Apparently in the first grade you do the Ringo tune. I’m guessing the rest of it goes:
2nd grade: Yellow Submarine
3rd grade: Sgt. Pepper’s
4th grade: Revolution 9
5th grade: Revolution 9 backwards

Harrison and his classmates do an impressive job with the sign language here. I didn’t know he knew how to do that. It was a good tune on which to finish. Clearly a favorite of the performers, it also went over well with the audience. I know that some parents wanted to wave lighters, if they hadn’t been afraid it would set off the fire sprinklers.

Concert Atmosphere

This one is here to give the viewer a sense of the concert venue from my point of view, which is to say to show how I tried to keep Gracie occupied during the breaks between songs. She’s cute as she discovers she can see herself in the camera monitor.

2 thoughts on “No Rests for the Animals

  1. Meg

    Ack! It’s like Aunt Sarah is extremely short and she’s wearing little red glasses! So cute! I cannot BELIEVE how much Burke…ishness (?) she has.

  2. Sarah

    Megan, that is so funny you see me in Grace. There are times when I see a glimpse of Burke…ishness, but mostly I see Orwig. Fortunately for Grace, she is a lot curlier and cuter than her mother!

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