Norridge school stages winter concert
Kindergarteners and first graders perform "The Penguin Polka" during a dress rehearsal for the Winter Concert at Pennoyer School in Norridge on Dec. 18. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:36AM
NORRIDGE — Preparing for a concert is more than just learning the notes.
“Music is a fine art, but it’s also much more than that,” said Lisa Petergal, music teacher at Pennoyer School in Norridge.
“Students are learning discipline. They have to practice.”
There was a lot of practicing before Pennoyer students performed in their annual winter concert Dec. 18.
The performance included winter-themed, traditional Christmas, Hanukkah and Middle Eastern songs.
“We want to be inclusive,” Petergal said.
Music is a way for many students to express themselves, she noted.
“Not all students have to solo,” Petergal said.
As part of a group, an individual can perform without all the pressure.
“They still get that enjoyment,” Petergal said.
And the performers are not static.
“We incorporate a lot of movement,” Petergal said.
The third-graders, in a takeoff on the Rockettes, danced with candy canes.
Second-graders, wearing antlers, performed “Blizten’s Boogies.”
Students in kindergarten through fourth grade learn music as part of the general curriculum.
Students may engage in such extracurricular activities such as chorus or recorder, a wind instrument in the flute family of instruments.
For the concert, students begin rehearsing the first week of November.
“There are a lot of students involved,” Petergal said.
The eighth-graders serve as assistants, taking charge of lighting, sound, announcing and decorating.
Some also provide piano accompaniments.
“We practice during the general music class, then a week before the concert we have whole-grade rehearsals that include anywhere from 40-55 kids,” Petergal explained.
Petergal believes the music program can bring joy to her students.
“I hope it adds something special in their lives,” she said.
Upon occasion, she hears from graduates.
“They come back to say they’ve continued on in chorus or band,” she said with a smile.
Recently a couple of students she had in 2002 told her they just were thinking about some song they learned from her.
“It’s wonderful for me to know, 11 or 12 years later, that some of my students are still thinking about the class.”