Montgomery Township School District

Visual and Performing Arts Newsletter, December 2020

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Changing the "How" but Not the "What"

We hope this newsletter finds you healthy and safe during this holiday season. The Visual and Performing Arts have been and continue to be a highlight and focus in our students’ education. As the supervisor of our program, I have the pleasure of visiting many of the classes, PreK-12, and witnessing the amazing creativity of our students and teachers.

I am so impressed with how our teachers and students have adapted their teaching and learning to the virtual environment of education. Our teachers have certainly had to change the “how” of delivering instruction, but have done an incredible job of maintaining the rich artistic and musical content of the “what” they are teaching, and in many cases, have even expanded upon it! Our teachers have spent countless hours learning new technology platforms that allow them to keep our students engaged in their artistic and musical growth. Visiting classes, I have seen incredible moments taking place across the district that include activities such as:

  • Small group sectionals in music classes with students playing/singing for each other

  • Researching different cultures to find inspiration for student art work

  • Live theatrical performances taking place over Zoom

  • Virtual art galleries of student work with peer assessment taking place

  • Chamber music ensembles working together online to perform incredible music

  • Students incorporating personal interests and passions into their art projects

  • Guest composers visiting with students to talk about the music they have written

  • Exploring professional artists’ lives and work

  • Musicianship development through ear training and composing activities

  • Collaborative artworks being created digitally between small groups of students

  • Large musical ensembles working together to learn a piece of music

Our students and teachers are certainly hard at work being creative and artistic! Thank you for your continued support of the arts! My warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays,

Adam Warshafsky

Supervisor, Visual and Performing Arts

New Virtual Platform Increases Musical Collaboration in UMS Orchestra!

We are grateful to Ms. Jamie Yavorsky, one of our UMS orchestra teachers, for piloting the use of a wonderful new virtual music platform that allows our students to quickly create virtual ensemble performances. Our students can now easily create recordings which allow them to hear their parts all played together, evaluate their performance, and make creative decisions on how they are performing their music together as an ensemble. While we still cannot make music in real-time together virtually, we now have the next best thing! Our district will be utilizing this platform in various music classes at UMS and MHS beginning in the 3rd marking period. You can explore this platform at

Please click below to enjoy some holiday duets by members of our UMS orchestra! They show off how easily this platform allows for student collaboration and making music together. And of course, we are so proud of our students for their wonderful talents. These are beautiful videos. Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the MHS choirs!

The MHS Choirs have established a wonderful annual tradition of spending the day before winter break touring our five school buildings singing carols and winter songs for all of our students and teachers. As is the case with so many things this year, we were unable to do this as a result of COVID-19. We are looking forward to a time when we can be back in person, singing our hearts out for all to hear! Until then, please enjoy this holiday greeting from the MHS Chamber Choir, from our voices to your hearts.
In Dulci Jubilo - Chamber Choir

VES Orchestra Small Ensemble

It's hard to believe that students in 4th grade are already playing Mozart!! We are so excited to have over 250 students learning to play instruments this year in our 4th grade instrumental music program. Please enjoy our 4th grade chamber orchestra students performing these beautiful pieces. Thank you to Dr. Goldman for giving our string students such a strong foundation!

Guest Composer Visits UMS 7th Grade Band

Our Upper Middle school band program is taking the Winter by “Storm!

One of the musical selections that the bands are working on is Byzantine Dances by Carol Chambers. This is a recent composition utilizing the byzantine scale (a major scale with a flare 2nd scale degree for us music nerds) and provides historical suggestions to incorporate authentic choreography when performed. (Yes, I believe we will perform someday soon). With the support of the administration, Ms. Chambers came to visit our classes over two days and worked with the students individually on musical interpretations and musical pedagogical technique to bring her art to life. Ms. Chambers also took time to speak to the students about her process of starting with a “Greek” tune and how her artistic journey took her to a different region of the globe all together. She also spoke to students interested in composition and some of the skills they can start to gather now that will serve them well as they hone their craft. She is a true inspiration not only to our burgeoning composers, but to women in the Arts as their options and horizons expand.

Happy Holidays,

Dr. Hackel

VES Upcoming Choral Concert!

The VES 4th Grade Virtual Chorus is working hard at making individual recordings of challenging and beautiful 2-part choral music. Mrs. Bice and Dr. Bell will be presenting a virtual streamed concert on the evening of February 2nd for family and friends.

Each individual performance is joined together to make one song. We are proud of their hard work and dedication! Many voices together are greater than the sum of their parts.

VES 4th Grade Choral Concert - Mark Your Calendar!

February 2nd, 2021

Virtual Performance!

Time: TBD

Links will be shared in late January

"The only thing better than singing is more singing." Ella Fitzgerald.

OHES Music Updates!

Our youngest Monty students are continuing to progress in their musical skills and experiences. Please see the slides below for an update from Mrs. Sorensen and Mrs. Bice on the latest of what's happening in class.

Monty Visual Arts!

The students in our visual arts program have been hard at work creating beautiful artwork during their time at home, under the guidance of our amazing teachers. We will have a virtual art show later in the year to feature work from across the school district. Here are a few examples of the fantastic learning taking place in the art program.
OHES Artwork

Here are a few samples of student artwork from Mrs. Evan's and Mrs. Diatlo's classes!

UMS Artwork

Here is some work from Ms. Zimmer's classes at UMS! Enjoy these 3 dimensional zentangles!

MHS Ceramics

Students in our MHS Ceramics Program have been hard at work sculpting at home. At the beginning of the semester, students were given clay and tools to take home so they could engage in class virtually while getting hands on experience. Mrs. Dailey has been having regular drop offs so her students can have their pieces fired in the kilns. The MHS ceramics program offers 3 levels of ceramics to about 200 students each year. We look forward to showing off more of our work later in the year!

Montgomery Photography Students In the News

Students from Ms. Palecek's photography classes were featured in the Montgomery News November issue (see picture below of the article) for the volunteer work they are doing with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Please read this article from the Montgomery News to learn about the great work they are doing!
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MHS National Art Honor Society - Engaging with the Community

Students from the National Art Honor Society (NAHS), under the guidance of Ms. McGrail, have been hard at work. This past fall, students took the time to Zoom with residents of an assisted living facility to engage with them in sharing and discussing their art work. Additionally, members of NAHS ran a Wellness Banner workshop for faculty members and their families in which they taught the attendees how to create gifs that represent their feelings and put them together as a banner.

Thank you to Ms. McGrail and to NAHS for using the arts to help us come together as a community!

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Congrats to OHES Artists!!

Mrs. Diatlo had about 80 students submit their artwork to the "Celebrating Art" contest sponsored by Blick Art Materials, and almost 20 of them had their art work selected to be a part of a published book of artwork that will be put together by Blick Art Materials. Congratulations to our youngest Monty Artists!!

Monty History Made by the Cast and Crew of "She Kills Monsters."

The cast and crew of the the MHS Theater Department made history at the beginning December by performing the first ever dramatic production through a live, virtual platform. The students both on stage and behind the scenes worked their magic to bring the story to life and present "She Kills Monsters." It was a huge success and the students did an incredible job.

Thank you to our MHS Fall Play Director, Mr. Gordon, for his vision and direction to make sure the theater lives on through these challenging times. Also, a huge thanks for Mr. Kauzmann and Mr. Orbe for all of their work with the crew to make sure costumes, props, backdrops, and the technology all came together to help tell the story. Click below to see the playbill from the show.


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