Category Archives: Group Class

Spring Festival ’18

West County Strings’ 2018 Spring Festival is set for the afternoon of Sunday, April 29.  Dress rehearsals will run from 1:00-3:00 p.m., and the concert will begin at 3:30 p.m.  Reception to follow.  All events will be held at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church, 15037 Clayton Rd.  Read on for everything you need to know about the day!


Who Have You Invited?

For the past few years, we have been grateful to be welcomed to hold our Spring Festival at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church.  The space is awesome.  It is also large!  Your children have all worked so hard this semester to prepare for this concert, and we want them to have an audience as wonderful as their playing! So,

***We’re asking every student, every sibling, and every parent to invite at least one friend, classmate, colleague, or neighbor to come***

It will be a great afternoon of music, and there’s food and drinks to follow!

Now, I know you might be thinking, “Other families will invite people, I don’t need to do it.”  If that’s you, then this message is specifically for you!  Bring someone along.  It’s always a wonderful time.

Dress Rehearsal Schedule

– 1:00 p.m: Vivaldi 4 Seasons
– 1:20 p.m: Bach Double
– 1:40 p.m: Violas (Lully Gavotte, Musette, Etude, Swanee River)
– 2:00 p.m: Humoresque, Boccherini Minuet, Hunter’s Chorus
– 2:30 p.m: Gossec Gavotte, Minuet 2, Perpetual Motion, Allegro
– 2:45 p.m: Song of the Wind, Lightly Row, Twinkles, Chicken on a Fencepost, Old Brass Wagon, Paw Paw Patch

***Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled rehearsal start time in order to allow time to unpack, tune, and be prepared to begin right on time!***

Performance Attire

We ask that all students and their families wear their “Sunday best” for all performances.  This means no jeans, no tennis shoes or sandals, and no t-shirts.  Ball gowns and tuxedos are certainly not required, either!  Dress slacks, button-down shirts, and dress shoes are suitable for boys, and tasteful dresses or skirts/dress pants and blouses are appropriate for girls.

***All students whose performance requires sheet music must have their music in a black, 1/2-inch, 3-ring binder, preferably in plastic sheet protectors.***

Parent Volunteers

Do you have a favorite treat that is your specialty?  A punch recipe that is to die for?  Are you able to pick up a box of cookies or crackers or a bag of fruit on your way?  If so, we would love to have your contributions to this year’s reception.

***You can sign up online, or in the studio during your lesson.***

We are extremely grateful for your help!

Still Wondering… ?

Not sure if you know all the pieces you’ll be playing?  Check out the Spring Festival ’18 Repertoire List.  If you have any other questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher in your lesson or Mr. Brad at group class.  Speaking of group class, we only have classes the evenings of 4/17 and 4/24 left to prepare!  So we hope to see you there!

Spring Festival ’18 Repertoire List

Wondering what pieces you’re responsible for the Spring Festival this year?  Well, wonder no longer.  Please note that members of the Ensemble and Circle of 5ths should also bring a black 1/2-inch binder and music stand with them to rehearsals and the concert!

Vivaldi Four Seasons: Spring, 1st Movement

Circle of 5ths
Bach Double
Old Joe Clarke
Everything from G Majors

Viola Choir
Way Down Upon the Swanee River
Lully Gavotte (duet)
Musette (duet)
Etude (duet)

G Majors
Boccherini Minuet
Hunter’s Chorus
Gossec Gavotte
Old Joe Clarke
Minuet 2
Perpetual Motion

A Majors
Song of the Wind
Lightly Row
Old Brass Wagon Variations
Chicken on a Fencepost Variations

Vivaldi Four Seasons Auditions

Every spring, we look forward to our Spring Festival group performance, which always highlights our students’ work both as individuals and in their group classes throughout the school year.  This year, one of the supplemental pieces we will be preparing for the Spring Festival on April 21 is “Spring” (Concerto No. 1 in E Major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera”) from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Like all concertos, the four concertos that make up Vivaldi’s Four Seasons were composed for a solo instrument – in this case violin – and orchestra.  The arrangement we are using allows for us to play this piece with a group of 1st violins, a group of 2nd violins, a group of violas, and a cello.  However, certain parts still require a soloist.  Would you be interested in auditioning for a solo?

Well, if you’re a Book 4+ student, we invite you to audition for the two solos in the 2nd violin part.  And if you’re a Book 5+ student, you’re invited to audition for the four solos in the 1st violin part (you may also audition for the two solos from the 2nd violin part).  The audition winners will only be assigned one of the solos for the performance, so six different students will have the opportunity to play solos.  However, in order to be considered your audition submission must contain both solo excerpts if you are auditioning for 2nd violin, and all four solo excerpts if you are auditioning for 1st violin.  Audition winners must also be able to regularly attend Ensemble rehearsals from 8:00-8:50 on Tuesday evenings throughout the semester.

In order to help you prepare, we are providing marked parts, as well as time stamps for a recording for you to listen to.

Violin 1, pg. 1, Violin 1, pg. 2, Violin 1, pg. 3.

Violin 2, pg. 1, Violin 2, pg. 2.

Violin 1 solo #1 / Violin 2 solo #1 (m. 13-27) @ 0:29
Violin 1 solo #2 (m. 47-55) @ 1:42
Violin 1 solo #3 / Violin 2 solo #2 (m. 59-65) @ 2:08
Violin 1 solo #4 (m. 71-75) @ 2:33

Performances will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Intonation
  • Tone
  • Adherence to the marked bowings and fingerings
  • Technique (posture, bow hold, shifting, vibrato as appropriate, etc.)
  • Musicality (dynamics, phrasing, musical sensitivity)

Please submit your video recording of your audition to no later than 9:00 p.m on Saturday, February 24.  This gives you one month to prepare!  Please ask your teacher if you have any questions.  Happy practicing!

Halloween Performance & Party

Every fall, we look forward to our Halloween Group Class Performance and the Party that follows.  Here’s what you need to know for this year’s installment:

Who: Any and all of Mr. Brad and Ms. Kirby’s students.
What: An informal performance of selected Suzuki repertoire and other supplemental pieces, followed by snacks and games.
Where: the Parish Hall at Good Shepherd Church, 1166 S. Mason Rd., Town & Country, MO 63131.
When: Tuesday, October 24, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
How: Wear a costume, invite your friends and family, and sign up to help set up, tear down, or bring treats.

Here is the repertoire list that we will be focusing on in group classes for the next few weeks to prepare for the performance:

Sadness, B. Tours
Fugue in Two Parts, C. Dancla
Coleraine (Irish Jig)

Chicken on a Fencepost Variations (A, C, E)
Paw Paw Patch
Old Brass Wagon

Seitz 2:III
Gavotte in g minor (w/ violas)
Old Joe Clark
Witches’ Dance

Handel Bourree (w/ duet)
Chorus from
Judas Maccabaeus (w/ duet)
French Folk Song (w/ duet)

Violins & Violas
Etude (w/ viola duet)
Rhody Variations
Song of the Wind
Twinkle Theme & Variations (A, C, Theme)


Spring Festival ’17

Hello Everyone!  Many, many thanks to all of you who participated in our 2017 Spring Festival and to those of you who joined us for our pizza party at Longview Farm Park!  The community of families that makes up West County Strings is really special, and we’re incredibly thankful for such a wonderful afternoon and evening of performing and spending time together.  Here’s some pictures from the day:

February Group Repertoire

A Majors
Eek! Song
Train Song
Monkey Song
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row – Perpetual Motion

G Majors
Minuet 2
Gossec Gavotte
Chorus from J.M.
Two Grenadiers
Witches’ Dance
Boccherini Minuet

Viola Choir
Twinkle Theme & Variations
Lightly Row – Perpetual Motion
Minuet 2
Telemann GM for 2 Vla
The Swan

Circle of 5ths
Bach Bourree
Seitz 5:III
Bach Double

Performance Ensemble
Kesh Jig

Any participants in the Performance Ensemble are encouraged to join in the performance at Marie de Villa on Saturday, February 25 at 2:30 p.m.

Halloween Party Recap

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and joined us for our Halloween Play-In and Party last night – it was an incredibly fun evening!  We enjoyed wonderful performances of Suzuki and non-Suzuki repertoire, and our first-ever talent show was a huge success.  A huge thank you to all those of you who shared your many diverse and amazing talents with us!  And to all the families who brought treats, helped set up, tear down, or clean up – thank you!  We are so fortunate to have such wonderful families in our music community.

Halloween Recital & Talent Show

Tuesday, October 25 – 6:00 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd!


We want to make this year’s Halloween Recital a whole family event by inviting EVERYONE IN YOUR FAMILY to participate in some way.  We know you all are super talented, we see it every week in lessons!  That’s why we are going to showcase what our group classes have been working on with a few selections from the repertoire list below.  

We also want to see any special talents we might not know about yet – students, siblings and even parents are encouraged to participate.  Feel free to show some dance moves, singing, martial arts, alternative ways of playing instruments, unicycle riding, or whatever you can think of!  Please sign up in the studio or by e-mailing Brad or Kirby a brief description of what you will be doing and the names of everyone participating by October 16.  

If you are worried because your formal attire is at the dry cleaners, worry no more!  Costumes for all are encouraged for this event – adults and kids!  (We recommend practicing in your costume before arriving at the church and making any modifications necessary to maintain proper posture.)

If you are asking yourself how else you can help, please consider signing up to bring treats for a reception following the event!  A Parent Volunteer sheet is now posted in the studio!

Repertoire List:

Peanut Butter Sandwich
Train Song
Twinkles (D Major)
Lightly Row
Halloween Rhody
May Song
Witches Dance
Gavotte by Becker (book 3)
Seitz 5: I
Perpetual Motion (book 4)
Gavotte by Bach (book 5)
Orange Blossom Special

Pop Goes the Weasel
Lightly Row (A Major)
O Come Little Children
Bohemian Folk Song
Gavotte by Becker (book 3)
Seitz 2 III
Orange Blossom Special

Why Group Class?

12115489_1510382669280441_8726356053183715068_nThis past Tuesday marked the 8th of 15 group class meetings for the fall semester of the ’16-’17 school year.  It’s hard to believe how fast the weeks are flying by!  If you’ve been regularly attending group classes – thank you!  We know how hard it can be to make the time to come on a weekday evening.  If you haven’t been coming thus far – start now! Group classes provide a unique and invaluable complement to weekly private lessons.  Here are just a few of the ways that groups benefit your child:

  1. The progress they are making in home practice and private lessons gets to be seen by their peers.  It feels good when your hard work gets noticed, and group classes provide the perfect environment for progress to be noticed and praised.
  2. Likewise, they get to see their peers’ progress.  This is a two-way street.  It’s important for children to learn to be able to identify and praise hard work and developed ability in others.  Simultaneously, seeing others making progress can really motivate children to work hard and see their own progress themselves.
  3. They get stretched beyond their comfort zone.  Home practice is absolutely necessary.  But at home, we can all get in the habit of doing what is comfortable and easy, because things that are comfortable and easy make us feel good.  They make us feel safe.  In group class, we all get stretched a little bit beyond what we’re comfortable with, but in a safe environment.  And there some real growth can happen!
  4. They develop friendships.  Making music together is a uniquely powerful bonding experience, and one that all children deserve the opportunity to enjoy.  When we practice together, we are able to produce something that is “greater than the sum of its parts” in the music we produce.  And in doing that, we produce memories that can last a lifetime.
  5. They learn to play in an ensemble.  Although we can all aspire to, the reality is that most students won’t go on to be the next Itzhak Perlman or Hilary Hahn.  Most us us will do far more playing in groups of various kinds than giving solo recitals.  Therefore, it is important that we all develop the kind of awareness and skills required to actually play well in a group.

So, if you’ve been thinking about coming to group classes, but haven’t committed to doing so yet this school year, it’s never too late to begin!  Come join us on Tuesday nights.  Classes meet from 5:30-8:50 p.m. for all levels of advancement.  Ask your teacher for more information!

Nursery Rhymes & Suzuki Song Words

Chicken on a Fence Post
Chicken on a fence post, can’t dance Josey.
Chicken on a fence post, can’t dance Josey.
Chicken on a fence post, can’t dance Josey.
Hello Susan Brown-i-o.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Teddy Bear, teddy bear turn around.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear show your shoe.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear that will do.

Teddy Bear, teddy bear to upstairs.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear say your prayers.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear turn off the light.
Teddy Bear, teddy bear say good night.

Lightly Row
Lightly row, lightly row, over dancing waves we go.
Lightly rowing, lightly rowing, singing as we row our boat.
Let the wind and water be, mingle with our melody.
Lightly Rowing, lightly rowing, singing as we row our boat.

Rocky Mountain High
Rocky Mountain, rocky mountain, rocky mountain high.
When you’re on that rocky mountain, hang your head and cry.
Do, do, do, do, do remember me. Do, do, do, do, do remember me.

Stormy ocean, stormy ocean, stormy ocean blue.
When you’re on that stormy ocean sing it loud and true.
Do, do, do, do, do remember me. Do, do, do, do, do remember me.

Sunny valley, sunny valley, sunny valley low.
When you’re in that sunny valley sing it soft and slow.
Do, do, do, do, do remember me. Do, do, do, do, do remember me.

May Song
Spring will soon come parching in, Hear the happy Chorus.
Lark and wren and thrush they all sing.
Robin, bluebird’s songs they all ring.
Spring will soon come marching in, Hear the Happy Chorus.

To Market, To Market
To market, to market to buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again jiggety jig.
To market, to market to buy a fat hog.
Home again, home again jiggety jog.

Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody, tell her quickly now.
Go tell Aunt Rhody, old gray goose is dead.
Goslings are crying, crying sadly now.
Gosling are crying, crying now.
Go tell Aunt Rhody, tell her quickly now.
Go tell Aunt Rhody, old gray goose is dead.