VPSF Purchases New 3D-Printer

The Verdigre Public School Foundation has recently purchased a new 3-D printer. Currently located in the Business Room, this new 3-D printer will give use to many of the high school/elementary classes, such as the Computer II and Drafting classes. The printer will allow the students and staff to have a more realistic visual of what they are creating. In addition to being a great tool for the classes, the printer will also be used to create objects to be sold as a fundraiser.

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Czech bagpiper was worth the wait

by Jason Wessendorf

It was 93 years ago when people in the Verdigre and surrounding area last enjoyed the music of an honest-to-goodness Czech bagpiper. They spent two days in Verdigre back in 1920, putting on shows for the general public. It was so long ago that a person would be hard-pressed to find anyone living that could attest to the unique sound and cultural originality of the music which eminates from the Czech “dudy” (bagpipes) in the hands of a gifted musician. Or, you could ask any number of students that were present at Verdigre Public School Thursday, April 25, 2013, or the group of people present at the United Methodist Church that night.

Arriving around 11:00 Thursday from their David City, Neb., presentation and performance, Czech-American Michael Cwach, a bagpiper and musician who works at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, and Praque-based producer and director Jefe Brown barely let the engine cool in Michael’s car before giving an unforgettable presentation at Verdigre Public School. Broken up into three periods, the duo’s music-room demonstration was all-inclusive, rolling geography, history, geneology, cultural and music lessons into one comprehensive learning opportunity.

Michael, Yankton, S.D., native and recent University of Canterbury PhD recipient, asked the students if they knew any Pavliks, Vondraceks, Placeks, Kuceras and so forth. He spoke the names with a Czech dialect – he and Jefe speaking fluent Czech – so it took a few moments for the students to “translate.” Michael showed these students (and faculty) what village their ancestors were from, what the villages looked like and what a typical day in the life of a villager would consist of. Weddings there might last three days, he said, because it was a time when music could really be enjoyed, as villagers had no radios, CDs, MP3s, or iTunes. Music Director Mr. Pete Pavlik learned that he and Mark Vondracek, 11th grade student at VPS, had ancestoral ties to the same village. Mark had a chance to try out the bagpipes, as did Jacob Pavlik. Both would agree that Michael made the task of pushing the right amount of air through the instrument look much easier than the reality.

Michael played several songs for each group, having brought with him three different sets of bagpipes. Many people were surprised that the Czech version of bagpipes were completely unlike the “shrill” Scottish bagpipe sound most would associate bagpipe music with. Two of the bagpipes were powered solely by squeezing a bellow under the arm. It was a great development in Czech bagpipes, he explained, because it allowed the bagpipe musician to sing, not reliant on supplying air by blowing as is the case with the traditional “dudy,” which he also brought, or Scottish bagpipes.

One of the ornate bagpipes used goat fur in addition to the cow horn bells that adorn the front and back of the instrument. Traditionally, the instrument would use most of the goat, including its head, but today’s Czech bagpipes feature a goat’s head carved out of wood instead. The other, he reluctantly relayed to the younger classmen in answer to a question, was dog fur. The traditional dudy was cowhide. The ornate wood throughout the instruments were traditionally plum wood but are now commonly made from maple.

Mr. Jefe (pronounced “Jeff,” at least in the U.S.) Brown added to the geography and cultural aspect of the lessons, also explaining how his documentary “Call of Dudy” came to fruition before showing it to the upperclassmen. Presently the Czech-Bohemian bagpipe tradition is primarily associated with two towns in the Czech Republic; Domažlice and Strakonice. “Call of Dudy” centers on the Strakonice Bagpipe Festival that occurs every two years and features Michael, who received a Fulbright scholarship to study the bagpipe tradition of the Czech lands, and who participates in numerous international folk festivals, traveling regularly between the United States and the Czech Republic. Mr. Brown also shared that he had recently been working on another documentary involving Somali pirates, making folk-festival documentaries seem very tame in comparison.
The two stopped at Alpine Village to play a few songs for the residents before taking a brief break prior to the 7:00 p.m. presentation at the United Methodist Church.

A good showing of people enjoyed potluck and fellowship from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by a presentation and performance by Michael, now in traditional attire, and a 7:45 presentation of “Call of Dudy.” The audience enjoyed more soulful music and had their questions answered after the viewing of the show.

Mr. Micheal Cwach and Mr. Jefe Brown provided educational, musical and cultural enrichment to Verdigre students, Alpine Village residents and Verdigre area residents during the third stop of their midwest tour. Michael, who prefers to do most of the driving, drove to Milford, Neb., the following day for a noon presentation, to Cuba, Kan., for a 7 p.m. show that same Friday, then to Council Bluffs and Malvern, Iowa, at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m., respectively, on Saturday. How can they keep up such a fast-paced schedule and have the energy to put on a show?

“We enjoy bringing ‘something different’ where we go,” said Mr. Brown.

We’re glad they brought “something different” to our area. Let’s not wait another 93 years before welcoming them again.

Michael and Jefe’s visit was sponsored by the Verdigre Public School Foundation, Verdigre Inn-Tune and through DVD/CD sales and generous free-will offerings at their 7:00 show.

Related story – http://verdigreschoolfoundation.org/czech-bagpiper-coming-to-verdigre

Standing ovation greets Jr./Sr. High Band at Concert

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The Verdigre Music Department’s mixed and women’s choir opened the Spring Concert Friday, April 12, 2013, at the Verdigre Public School gymnasium. They were instructed by Music Director Mr. Pete Pavlik and accompanied by Mrs. Nancy Pavelka.
Wearing their first-ever choir robes, they sang their upcoming contest selections “This is a Celebration,” Fly Little Bird” and “Omnia Sol,” along with other beautiful numbers.

Then the Jr./Sr. High Band members began to take their seats and were met with a standing ovation. The public presentation of the new band uniforms gave onlookers a sense of history in the making, shining as the embodiment of so much hard work and outpouring of generosity from the community and beyond. Replacing the 25+ year-old uniforms worn as recently as the month prior, the students wearing them were left with little doubt as to the Verdigre community’s staunch support for the music program.

The concert band performed several rousing selections, including contest selections “Cincinnatus” and “Explorations,” followed by the Jr. High Jazz Band. Jazz band soloists included Rhyann Kotrous, Bryson Wessendorf, Kendall Holland, Alexis Hrbek, Austin Burkhardt and Megan Leasure during the performances of “Tyrannosaurus Charlie,” “Power Trip” and “A Blues to Grow On.” You have to hear this jazz band to believe the great sounds they produce!
A dessert social followed the concert where praise for the great-looking uniforms and robes and excellent music could be constantly overheard.

The new band uniforms and the first-ever choir robes were made possible by the Verdigre Music Boosters, Verdigre Public School Foundation, the NE Unified District #1, the Verdigre Advisory Board and the overwhelming amount of generosity from the community and beyond.

 

New band uniforms/choir robes

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The new band uniforms and first-ever choir robes will be presented at the April 12, 2013, Jr./Sr. High Spring Concert in Verdigre. Featuring the Jr./Sr. High Band and Choir and the Jr. High Jazz band, the concert will kick off at 7:00 p.m. in the VHS gymnasium. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the concert.

The Verdgire Public School Foundation and Verdigre Music Boosters would like to that everyone who made the dream of new uniforms and robes a reality. It could NOT have been accomplished without your help!

Czech bagpiper coming to Verdigre

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Czech-American bagpiper Michael Cwach will play and sing traditional folk songs and make a presentation before the Verdigre screening of “Call of Dudy: Bohemian Bagpipes Across Borders,” the first full-length documentary film on the Czech bagpipe tradition (dudy is Czech for bagpipes).

Michael grew up on a farm near Yankton, S.D., and graduated from the University of S.D. with a master’s degree in music. He received a Fulbright scholarship to study the bagpipe tradition of the Czech lands and recently completed a PhD in music at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. His presentation will consist of the music and cultural history of the bagpipes, showing rare photos and archival materials from the Czech Republic and from early Czech settlers in the USA.

The film was co-directed and produced by Jeffrey Brown, a Prague-based filmmaker who has produced a number of award-winning narrative features and feature documentaries in Europe, Africa and the U.S. He will also be in attendance.

This exciting event will be at the United Methodist Church in Verdigre on Thursday, April 25, starting with a “meet and greet” potluck from 5-7:00 p.m. The bagpiper will be playing at 7:00, followed by the film at approximately 7:45. There will be door prizes from the Czech Republic awarded and “Call of Dudy” DVDs and Czech bagpipe polka CDs will be available for sale. Admission is free, with free-will donations gratefully accepted.

The duo will also spend time at Verdigre Public School during their stay, providing educational, musical and cultural enrichment to students.

This opportunity is provided, in part, by The Verdigre Public School Foundation and Verdigre Inn Tune.

All Americans

Verdigre students learn music, and more, from The Young Americans

By Jason Wessendorf

Who are The Young Americans? What do they do?

For nine Verdigre youth, those questions were answered this past week as they spent three days learning from and practicing with the group.
The Young Americans® were founded almost 50 years ago in Hollywood, Calif. For all of these years, their purpose has remained the same:
• To provide their talented Young American student performers (17-23 years of age) with education in music, dance, performance and teaching methods.
• To use this training, and the good will and optimism of these young people to support music in schools and its inherent benefits through conducting International Music Outreach Workshops in educational facilities of all types throughout the world.

The three-day workshops culminate in a 2-hour concert featuring the workshop participants performing alongside The Young Americans. The performance is the end result, with the core of the workshop focused on providing experiences and tools to students that yield individual, personal growth and understanding.

The Young Americans consist of 250 members from over 39 states and 8 countries. Among its 3,000+ alumni are professionals in music education, fine arts, motion pictures, television, radio, Broadway and recording. The Young Americans is a 501(c)(3) corporation with no political agenda, no religious affiliation and no shareholders to satisfy. Many of their staff work as volunteers, most are former Young Americans; all are dedicated to the proposition that music and dance, along with the enthusiasm, optimism and good will of their student performers, will make the world a better place.

The group’s tour brought them to O’Neill Public School for a March 8-10 workshop where members expanded the horizons of and instilled confidence in over a hundred area youth.

Attending from Verdigre were Carlena Forman, Kelsey Knigge, Amanda Boggs, Serena Babcock, Max Hollmann, Alex Hollmann, Bryson Wessendorf, Jacie Rifer, and Alexis Hrbek. The price for the three-day workshop was $27 per student after partial funding from the Verdigre Music Boosters and the Verdigre Public School Foundation.

The 7:00 p.m. show on Sunday, March 10, featured The Young Americans performing first, offering a wide range of dancing and singing styles. After intermission, it was the students’ time to shine as they weaved through the carefully-orchestrated series of group numbers, solos and dance moves they had skillfully learned and practiced over the last three days.

A professional show from start to finish, the audience was taken through decades of popular music and movie themes, moving inspirational numbers that brought tears to the eyes of audience and performers alike, international music from the countries the group had visited on tour, and much, much more.

Comments from the Verdigre students summed up the experience as “exciting,” “amazing,” “awesome,” and “the best experience of my life.”

“It was very impressive performance,” said Pete Pavlik, Verdigre Public School band/choir director. “The commitment of The Young Americans and their enthusiam is just fantastic. The intense learning and practicing all the area kids do culminates in an unbelievable end result.”

Update: Four of the students that attended made plans to attend the Young Americans summer camp in Fremont, Neb., this summer. A bake sale and hot potato bar raised half of the money required (approximately $1400 of a $2800 goal), with the Music Boosters providing $70 per student and the VPS Foundation paying for the remainder. They will spend a week expanding upon the great lessons they learned during the 3-day workshop, becoming better leaders and making lifetime memories.

Young Americans

Verdigre students learn music, and more, from The Young Americans

By Jason Wessendorf

Who are The Young Americans? What do they do?

For nine Verdigre youth, those questions were answered this past week as they spent three days learning from and practicing with the group.
The Young Americans® were founded almost 50 years ago in Hollywood, Calif. For all of these years, their purpose has remained the same:
• To provide their talented Young American student performers (17-23 years of age) with education in music, dance, performance and teaching methods.
• To use this training, and the good will and optimism of these young people to support music in schools and its inherent benefits through conducting International Music Outreach Workshops in educational facilities of all types throughout the world.

The three-day workshops culminate in a 2-hour concert featuring the workshop participants performing alongside The Young Americans. The performance is the end result, with the core of the workshop focused on providing experiences and tools to students that yield individual, personal growth and understanding.

The Young Americans consist of 250 members from over 39 states and 8 countries. Among its 3,000+ alumni are professionals in music education, fine arts, motion pictures, television, radio, Broadway and recording. The Young Americans is a 501(c)(3) corporation with no political agenda, no religious affiliation and no shareholders to satisfy. Many of their staff work as volunteers, most are former Young Americans; all are dedicated to the proposition that music and dance, along with the enthusiasm, optimism and good will of their student performers, will make the world a better place.

The group’s tour brought them to O’Neill Public School for a March 8-10 workshop where members expanded the horizons of and instilled confidence in over a hundred area youth.

Attending from Verdigre were Carlena Forman, Kelsey Knigge, Amanda Boggs, Serena Babcock, Max Hollmann, Alex Hollmann, Bryson Wessendorf, Jacie Rifer, and Alexis Hrbek. The price for the three-day workshop was $27 per student after partial funding from the Verdigre Music Boosters and the Verdigre Public School Foundation.

The 7:00 p.m. show on Sunday, March 10, featured The Young Americans performing first, offering a wide range of dancing and singing styles. After intermission, it was the students’ time to shine as they weaved through the carefully-orchestrated series of group numbers, solos and dance moves they had skillfully learned and practiced over the last three days.

A professional show from start to finish, the audience was taken through decades of popular music and movie themes, moving inspirational numbers that brought tears to the eyes of audience and performers alike, international music from the countries the group had visited on tour, and much, much more.

Comments from the Verdigre students summed up the experience as “exciting,” “amazing,” “awesome,” and “the best experience of my life.”

“It was very impressive performance,” said Pete Pavlik, Verdigre Public School band/choir director. “The commitment of The Young Americans and their enthusiam is just fantastic. The intense learning and practicing all the area kids do culminates in an unbelievable end result.”

10 desks purchased – more needed

Many Verdigre Public School classrooms contain a mix of old and (sometimes) new desks, while others use banquet (folding) tables. The Verdigre Public School Foundation hopes to help the VPS Advisory board change this.

A run-down of what is needed:

Approximately 12 Science Lab tables. This is especially important as many experiments and/dissections are not safe to do on a banquet table, which is currently in use. Bumping the table and having a student spill chemicals or slip while holding a scalpel is not an option. As such, these tables have been identified as a priority. Purchased!

• Approximately 30 lab chairs, to be determined based upon the chosen Science Lab tables.

Approximately 20 Computer Lab task chairs, 20 classroom task chairs, 20 workstation tables and classroom counters – Currently, students are using banquet tables (folding tables) and chairs that cannot be adjusted. It is impossible to ergonomically type on a keyboard or use a mouse when the height cannot be adjusted on either your table or chair. This can be very taxing on a student’s wrists and posture and, as such, is also a priority.

• 30 English classroom student desks

• 10 Social Studies classroom student desks

• 10+ Music Room chairs

• 12 6th grade classroom chairs

• 21 Teachers’ desks (certified staff) – Teachers are using old, outdated desks that are as old (or older) than the student’s desks.

• Cemented Parking Lot (south) – This will help with water runoff and keep the school much cleaner, saving money on upkeep

• Press box sound system

• Football field lighting

• Stage Curtains

• Cafeteria tables