Friday, November 29, 2013

AOSA 2013 Conference Highlights - Part 6

It’s been over a week since I got home from the National AOSA Conference in Denver, and I’m still thinking about several wonderful people I met there, presenters who inspired me, and the overall feeling of being “home” in a place where everyone appreciates and creates quality musical experiences for children.

From the early morning open “Sings,” which I loved all three days, in spite of their challenging 7:15 a.m. start time, to the last workshop I attended on Saturday afternoon on multi-cultural clapping games and the fascinating composer I had dinner with at the airport before flying back to Boston, it was a whirlwind of stimulation and inspiration.

I presented two workshops there on Unique Rounds & Partner Songs, and perhaps my biggest joy was in experiencing other music educators’ excitement for this genre of music that I’m so passionate about teaching. As we sang Namaste, which is a 3-part partner song (composed of singing “hello” in 15 languages) with easy intervening verses, everyone walked spiritedly around the room while reaching out hands in a kind of faux “grand right & left” and singing their different parts in a glorious blend of languages and harmonies.  For those 5–10 minutes, it seemed like a microcosm of this conference:  so many unique and beautiful voices, all joining together to learn and to inspire each other with all of our individual ideas and talents, each contributing to the common goal of helping children access the joy of music in themselves.

Joanne Hammil, a nationally renowned music educator, performer, songwriter and choral director from Boston, is a major figure in community and children's music. She directs several Intergenerational and Children's Choruses in the greater Boston area and presents dynamic, participatory concerts and workshops across the country. Her songs which have been performed and recorded by many artists, have been widely published, and her rounds have become exciting standards in books and harmony circles.

Joanne grew up in New Jersey, attended college in Massachusetts, (B.A. Smith College) and has raised her two children in the Boston area. Formerly Joanne Olshansky, her musical talents have been spread over a wide range of work for 30 years, centering around teaching, performing, songwriting and community choruses. She served as President of The Children's Music Network for many years. Her two award-winning recordings of original children's songs, Pizza Boogie and The World's Gonna Listen!, and her adult songs consistently receive the highest acclaim.

Joanne has just released two exciting recordings and songbooks of 53 of her original Rounds & Partner Songs! Mostly for adults, but containing rounds and partner songs for all ages, these beautiful collections highlight her unique contribution to this genre. She is now at work on a long-awaited CD of her “regular” adult songs.

In addition to her weekly choruses, Joanne's exciting programs at schools, on concert stages, and at her galvinizing workshops continue to inspire joy and learning through her unique music and creative leadership.

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