The 112-member Class of 2016 faced stormy weather on Sunday, June 5, for the Founders Day exercises that marked the end of their time as Gilman students. The threat of thunderstorms led to a decision to move the exercises indoors, which, despite the swelter inside the Redmond C.S. Finney Arena, provided wise as rain pelted the ceiling about 40 minutes into the ceremony. The nimble move seems apt for the Class of 2016, characterized by its valedictorian, Luigi Nicholas Mangione, as inventive, with “incredible courage to explore the unknown and try new things.”
“Today is about expression and individuality,” OrchKids Artistic Director Dan Trahey told about fifty young musicians from Baltimore City Public Schools and Gilman, as they warmed up together for a morning of musical improvisation.
Watch a video about the day and hear the music by Gilman and OrchKids here.
Standing in a large circle, students from four different schools, ranging from third through ninth grade, mimicked Trahey’s sounds and patterns, created beats with their bodies and voices, and introduced themselves to the group. The exercise is called “creative connections.” Soon, they would all connect over a shared melody and create a new piece of music.
The Baltimore City Public students traveled to campus from Lockerman-Bundy Elementary, Highlandtown Elementary, and Booker T. Washington. They are all enrolled in OrchKids, a year-round program of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra (BYSO) that puts musical instruments in the hands of Baltimore kids.
Their visit to Gilman was organized by junior Nirakar Pandey as outgrowth of a Civic Engagement and Service Learninggrant he received last spring. As one of two inaugural grant recipients, Pandey was awarded $1,500 to pursue a community service program. He called his “Orchcessories,” with the goal of supplying musical accessories, such as woodwind reeds, violin strings, or brass mouthpieces, to the students enrolled in OrchKids.
A violinist with the BYSO, Pandey spent last summer working with OrchKids students at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School and was inspired to help.
“I wanted to support this cause because I believe it is important for everyone to receive a musical education if they would like to,” said Pandey, who has been playing music since the age of five. “OrchKids provides instruments and some accessories, but many of these students cannot afford the accessories.”
This year, he also wanted to show the Orchkids the place that he loves – Gilman.
They arrived by the busload on a recent Friday morning, each with an instrument in hand, and filed into Gilman’s band room. Following their “creative connections” and team building exercises, the students broke into small sectional groups. Led by Trahey, Gilman’s Middle and Upper School Band Director Peter Lander (who also serves as an OrchKids instructor), and others, the groups worked with a pre-arranged piece of music and added to it. Some students wrote words, others added “groove” or percussion, while others crafted a counter melody.
About 45 minutes later, the groups convened to play together. What they produced – an impressive eight-minute improvisational piece – was a true team creation and a piece of music that had never before been heard. After the music making, the group enjoyed a pizza lunch together.
“It was a very successful day and the enthusiasm from everyone was tremendous,” Pandey said. “I think the kids got to see a side of town that they would not have seen had it not been for this day. Many of the kids were amazed by our campus. And, I think the Gilman students got to have fun and realize how much opportunity we have here.”
Pandey plans to continue collecting musical accessories for OrchKids throughout his time at Gilman and hopes to organize something similar during his college years.
It’s time to plan for camp. Hooray! We’ve come a long way from the days of Camp Wabeewawa <—literally the name of a sleep-away camp in White Mountains of New Hampshire in the 1930s. However, there is still Band Camp. There will always be a Band Camp, and stories from Band Camp. (Fist pump! Fellow glockenspielers!)
Fifth grade teacher Lisa Teeling is on her way to San Francisco this week, thanks to the gratitude of a former student.
Over the summer, Gilman sixth grader Vasili A. nominated Teeling for The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth’s (CTY) Sarah D. Barder Fellowship Program, which is designed to honor and support great teachers for the work they do with talented students. CTY students in California, Maryland, and Nevada are invited to nominate outstanding teachers each year.
Vasili was new to Gilman last year and credits Teeling with helping make his transition “really easy and smooth.” His nomination letter began by saying, “I think Mrs. Teeling should win this award because she is so supportive, enthusiastic and fun that she made fifth grade an important year of learning and growing for me.” He went on to note her friendliness, flexibility, encouragement, and how she worked with him to improve his writing and organizational habits.
Vasili never told Mrs. Teeling that her name had been submitted. It was Christmas Eve when she received a letter notifying her of the nomination. “I was completely shocked,” she said. “His essay touched my heart. Vasili, and others like him, are what make teaching such a joy.”
The nominated teachers are then invited to apply to for the fellowship and up to 15 of the applicants are selected. Teeling found out in early January that she is one of just ten teachers chosen for this year’s program, which includes an all-expense-paid trip to the annual conference, held this year in San Francisco. In the years to follow, veteran teachers are invited to return to the conference, interact with new and returning fellows, and participate in a robust program of professional development centered on a theme.
Teeling says she’s looking forward to the networking aspect of the program, as well as the intense days of discussions and presentations. She is also honored by the way Vasili expressed his appreciation.
Vasili too, was pretty thrilled with the news. “I was incredibly excited, I was probably just as excited as she was,” he said. “She really deserves it. She just made fifth grade a lot of fun. I wasn’t just waiting for the bell to ring. It was a great year.”
Notably, Vasili has a successful track record with the Sarah D. Barder Fellowship. Last year, he nominated his teacher – Mrs. Emerson at Cathedral — and she was also selected for the program.
After five years in CTY, this summer will be Vasili’s final year in the program. And, yes, he plans to nominate another teacher. He’s still deciding on who it will be.
Click here for more info.
Spend an evening steeped in music and contemporary American history when civil rights activist and leader Julian Bond presents “Crossing the Color Line: From Rhythm-n-Blues to Rock-n-Roll,” the first lecture in Gilman School’s annual Race Dialogue Series on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at 6 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
Despite temperatures barely breaking the single digits these days, yes, it’s time to start thinking about summer – Gilman Summer.
Gilman School offers an exciting range of enrichment and skill-building experiences for girls and boys in grades 1 through 12 on its North Baltimore campus. Last summer, 370 kids from 57 different schools attended Gilman Summer programs, which range from one to six weeks in length.
Campers can enroll in more than 40 different offerings including outdoor education, 3-D video game and mobile app development, baseball statistics, SAT prep courses, college application and essay writing, and art enrichment programs. Courses are designed and taught by Gilman School faculty and field experts.
“The most important thing is that kids have fun while they are learning something new and being challenged in their abilities,” said Maryann Wegloski, director of Gilman Summer. “Academic courses give students a boost before their next school year, while some of our other programs are designed to let our campers explore their personal and creative interests.”
Among the courses taught by Gilman’s award-winning art instructor David Anderson is Surf and Skate Art – back for its third year by popular demand – in which students examine the unique design elements of surf and skate culture. A skater himself for the past 30 years, Anderson shares his passion and knowledge as students design a series of skateboard graphics, create ocean paintings on canvas, and more.
Photo by Thomas Rowe
Anderson also offers half-day sessions in clay modeling, storytelling through art, studio drawing workshops, and painting with pastels and acrylics.
During the summer classes, kids are able to build their portfolios of work and expand their technique. Anderson says the real advantage to summer art programs is the length of time the kids get to spend on each project – time they don’t often have during a typical school day.
“We have a huge range of artists every summer – both in age and ability,” said Anderson. “The dynamic of how they learn from each other and encourage each other is always really inspiring to watch.”
Sessions run June 16 through July 25. Learn more at www.Gilman.edu/GilmanSummer
On June 30, after nearly forty years of service as a teacher, coach and mentor, Headmaster John Schmick will retire from Gilman School. Known for his humility, the creation of the Gilman Five, and dedication to the school, Schmick has been a keystone of the Gilman community throughout the past few decades.
“Gilman is a key element of my life,” says Schmick, who graduated from the North Baltimore all-boys private school in 1967 and returned to teach after both serving in the National Guard and graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.
During his teaching career, Schmick, whose favorite books include “Hamlet” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” taught English and poetry. He also became known for “Roger the Elf,” a fictitious, yet profound character who would lyrically dismiss the school for winter break with a poem using the names of every student in the senior class. According to Schmick, the highlight of his career has been “having students, initially, learn to appreciate all forms of English literature.”