Published for the Arts Based School Community
December 8, 2022
How We Do It and Why
By Mary Siebert
“A Well-Tempered Mind demonstrates that by working together, we can make a difference in our children's lives and replace cultural bankruptcy with a full pocket of good music. Lord knows we need it."—Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Five adult musicians perch on teensy first grade chairs, gleaming instruments at their lips. A criss-cross legged group of first-graders gathers curiously on the carpet. There is a nod, a collective deep breath, a glorious burst of music. Little eyes grow wide and round, little mouths drop open. Wiggles become statues, leaning forward. One little girl turns to stare at me, flushed with delight, as if to say “Can you believe this miracle?” then she quickly turns back. When the music stops, the children sit in bewildered, delighted silence for a moment. The classroom teacher begins the applause, children join in.
The smiling musicians introduce themselves and their instruments. They are a professional wind quintet: flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and French horn. They ask the children for comparisons. “What is the same about these instruments? What is different? Which one plays the lowest?” (Demonstrations follow.) The children learn that small instruments play higher pitches than large instruments, just as little dogs have high barks and big dogs have low barks. It’s the first day of “Quintet” in the 1st Grade. By the time the residency ends, the children will be familiar with the unique sounds of each of these instruments. Each student will have designed a brief composition of their own, assigning it to a quintet member, and the musicians will play it for them.
The Quintet has worked with ABS students every year, since we opened our doors in 2002. They will visit first grade classrooms eight times, beginning this today, linking their performances with the first grade academic curriculum. The work of this distinguished group of professional wind players is chronicled in A Well-Tempered Mind, a book by Peter Perret. Maestro Perret is Conductor Emeritus of the Winston-Salem Symphony, and is one of the founders of our school. He was inspired to create the “Bolton Quintet” after reading of experiments in neuroscience which produced evidence that active listening to music helps develop cognitive abilities in children. With five instrumentalists from the W-S Symphony, he designed a cleverly crafted curriculum that links with reading, comprehension, story structure, science, and math. Mr. Perret worked with Dr. Frank Wood, professor of Neuropsychology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, to develop and test the Quintet program. ABS participated in the study, which was shown to cause significant improvement in emerging readers, reflected on standardized test scores.
One of the hallmarks of the group is that they perform right in the classroom; not in a concert hall. The children grow to regard these musicians (and their instruments) as friends. Music is selected and prepared with meticulous care, including everything from Mozart to the Pink Panther; all performed just a few feet away from 1st graders’ ears. We are honored and delighted to host the Quintet again this year, at both campuses.
Pack the Pantry
ABS Builders Club wants to pack the Little Pantries of Winston-Salem with canned foods this year. Our canned food drive will be December 12th-16th. We are asking for canned food items only. There will be boxes set up in the cafe in MLK, 7th street lobby and South Campus office for food donations. Thank you!
Set-Moving Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers are needed to move sets, props and costumes! These are high-energy, rewarding tasks that help us produce our beautiful performances. These magical shows do not just magically happen...we rely upon magic-making volunteers!
There are fast-moving, heavy objects involved in these processes, so if you bring your children, we'll have them wait safely in the lunchroom or in the theater seats with supervision. (Please, no infants or toddlers.)
You are invited to log DOUBLE VOLUNTEER HOURS for these set-moving tasks:
-Friday, December 16, 8:15-9:15 a.m.
-Friday February 3, 3 - 4 p.m.
-Friday February 24, 3 - 4 p.m.
If you can help with any of these, please sign up HERE. We will meet in the Ewing Theater at ABS North.
3rd-5th Grade Families
Does your child want to make a difference in our school, community, and the world? Your child is invited to join the K-Kids program at the Arts Based School. K-Kids is a service organization and a member of the Kiwanis Family, which sponsors our club. K-Kids provides the opportunity to develop self-esteem, leadership skills, morals and standards, and respect for others. Registration information will be sent home in 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Thursday folders. Our first meeting will be on Friday, December 9th at 7:45.
Prospective Parent Tours
School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Thursdays at 9:30am. Each tour is limited to 10 adults in an effort to limit the disruption to our students and teachers in the classrooms. Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child, should contact the front office to sign up for a tour. 748-4116 ext 1023. Applications will be accepted beginning January 1. The lottery will be held the second Tuesday of February.
High School Information
Mrs. Raper sent an email to 8th grade families a few weeks ago about high school enrollment and registration. Please make sure you have received that information. If you live in Forsyth County, you can visit the Choice and Magnet Schools website for helpful information. Choice and Magnet applications are now open for grades 1-12.
Assistant Principal for the Day
Does your child want a chance to be Assistant Principal for the day? We hold drawings every month at Friday Sing! You can purchase raffle tickets online or in the front office of your campus to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day. Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of very important duties for the day. All proceeds from the raffle support our teacher appreciation fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year. Thank you, and good luck!
In the event of inclement weather, ABS will announce school closings on local TV channels, under “The Arts Based School.'' This information will also be posted on the ABS website (www.artsbasedschool.com).
CHORAL ENSEMBLE Performance
The Community School of UNCSA's Chorale Ensemble presents their annual Christmas performance on Saturday, December 10th at 2PM in Crawford Hall on UNCSA's campus. Several ABS students are in the Choral Ensemble and would love to see their friends in the audience!