General Music Reviews

“Welcome in the Spring” Morris and Sword Dances for Children Compiled, annotated and arranged by Paul Kerlee

by Deanna Bell

Sword Dancing in Elementary School? Yes!

This book is filled with exciting dances from the English countryside that were brought to America at the turn of the century. These dances include the clashing of swords, clapping, shouting, and dancing.

The book has a CD with accompaniment tracks and Orff arrangements for fifteen songs. The easy step-by-step instructions include photos for additional help.

I learned about this book during Orff Level III at Samford University. During movement class, Jennifer Donnovan taught us the “North Skelton Sword Dance.” It was one of my favorite activities and I was so excited to share it with my students. So, I spray-painted twenty-five yard sticks and taught the dance to my kids. They LOVED it! The goal was to clash swords, dance, and then weave the swords together to make a star. I taught this to third graders and they performed it at their grade level program. I used the Orff arrangement and featured a third grader on cello performing the melody. It was a hit!

In 2017, Kate Donaldson, Trudye Confessore and I attend the AOSA National Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. There, we attended a session with Kris Olson about Morris Dances. She was dressed in an elaborate costume and she shared many reading and math connections to the songs in this book. Next time I do the dance, we will add costumes!

I have learned so much from my Orff and Kodály Levels. I hope you will consider this a part of your professional development. Samford University is offering Levels II and III June 17-28, 2019 and the University of Montevallo is offering Kodály Levels I, II, and III July 8-19. Please follow @AlabamaAosa and @AlabamaKodaly on twitter for up to date information on Levels courses

Wishing you all the best this summer!!

Deanna Bell Music Teacher, Vestavia Hills Elementary East Adjunct Professor, UAB

14 May/June 2019

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