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Volunteer spotlight: The Dodd family

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Wyatt and Olivia Dodd

The Music School is a home for musical friendships. For some families, it is also home away from home. The Dodd family is a familiar sight at the Music School: Mom Tiffany is a hard-working volunteer, and dad Steve is the Music School's on-call electrician.

The Dodd family first came to the Music School when they enrolled daughter Olivia in Music & Movement as a preschooler.

"Each class was a celebration of how music lifts our spirits," Tiffany said. "I knew then that we were going to spend a lot of time at CCMS."

Olivia later moved from Music & Movement to the Purple Finches Children's Chorus.

"She was lovingly encouraged to participate and express her creative musical self outside of her comfort zone," Tiffany said.

Today, Olivia is 15 years old and has traveled to Colorado and Minnesota to sing with the Kodály National Choir. She has studied piano with Rebecca Herst for five years, and she sings with the Teen Vocal Ensemble with Hannah Murray. In addition, she played Horton in Maria Isaak's production of Seussical Jr. last year. Last winter, Olivia and Herst played together at Havenwood Heritage Heights (younger brother Wyatt helped with a few numbers). Since graduating from the Purple Finches in 2011, she has volunteered weekly as an assistant.

"Her teachers have taught her the value of patience and dedication to what you love, and encouraged her to follow her creative aspirations," Tiffany said.

Son Wyatt was enrolled in Music & Movement with teacher Heather Oberheim at age 3 because his pediatrician was concerned about his lack of speech development.

"Heather introduced him to sign language in class with songs, which opened up a whole new world for Wyatt," Tiffany said.

Wyatt is now an enthusiastic member of the Purple Finches and performed in Seussical Jr. last year.

"Today we rejoice with the opportunity to give back and volunteer at CCMS," Tiffany said. "Each opportunity confirms that CCMS clearly understands what the word 'Community' means in their name."

'Take Three' celebrates first birthday

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Rebecca Herst teaches one of the sections of keyboard in 'Take Three' this summer.

Last year, as part of the "musical bridge" between our early childhood music program and private instruction, the Music School created "Take Three." This hour-long, weekly class incorporates rhythm, keyboard knowledge and movement. John Faggiano teaches percussion, Kathryn Southworth teaches the keyboard segment, and Heather Oberheim teaches the "Music & Movement" component. The students, ranging in age from 4 to 6, have 20 minutes with each teacher.

"The goal is for music to become a natural part of the children's lives," Southworth said.

Although the class is designed to help prepare young students for piano study, it serves as a foundation for the study of any musical instrument. High and low, soft and loud, fast and slow - all of these essential musical concepts are experienced through learning simple folk songs, reinforced in all three segments of the class. One of our first "Take Three" students was able to proudly participate in her first student recital at the end of the school year!

Students who transition from "Take Three" to private instruction will have many of those first musical concepts already in place, instilling confidence and a positive approach to regular practice, Southworth added.

Happy birthday, Take Three!

Second annual Creative Arts Camp a success

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The Music School was filled with energy during the last two weeks of July, as we hosted the second year of our Creative Arts Camp for students in grades 1-6. By popular request from last year's participants, and building on our inaugural success in 2011, we added a second week to the program. Both weeks were filled to capacity; almost half of the students participated in both weeks.

Students rotated between sessions in art, dance and music, with plenty of time for play in our neighboring park and popsicles every afternoon. Their pride was palpable at the end of each week during the closing program in our Community Room, where their artwork was on display and they presented a sampling of their musical finesse and dance moves for delighted family and friends.

Under Cathy Kaplan's direction, more than 300 pieces of art were created over the course of two weeks: puppets, painted tiles, sun catchers, wooden constructions, string and sponge painting, and Styrofoam plate prints, to name a few.

"It was a pleasure to watch the art-making unfold in both expected and unexpected ways each day," Kaplan said.

During movement time with Heather Oberheim, children enjoyed exploring concepts such as space, level, shape, pathway and time. Freeze dance, body sock exploration, and the statue game were a few of the favorite movement activities.

With Maria Isaak, students explored wind and brass instruments and improved their music literacy skills on recorders and xylophones.

"It is a heart-warming experience to work with all the children at Creative Arts Camp," Isaak said.  "They bring joy to each other, as well as all of us who teach them."

Earn a Ben Franklin

Would you like to earn $100 by talking to a friend? The Music School would like to reward all the social butterflies out there. Here are the rules:

You can earn a one-time $100 tuition credit by referring a friend or family member who is NEW to the Music School (not returning after an absence). The registrant has to take private lessons and must include the name of the person who referred him/her (YOU!) at the time of registration (under the "How did you hear about the Music School" section). The $100 credit will be applied to your account after the registrant has finished one semester of private lessons.

Who's got talent? Danielle!

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Danielle Roberge, 8, a voice student of Ellen Nordstrom and a former member of the Purple Finches Children's Chorus, placed first for young talent in the Who's Got Talent NH Awards Showcase last month. Danielle is pictured here in this courtesy photo with the owner of radio station 89.7, who hosted the event.