Written by Abbey Norton |
Photos by Miles Waterbury, Abbey Norton, and Ray Smith |
The Morgan School offers many interesting and intriguing electives, such as Film Study and Philosophy. This year, the upperclassmen were offered a brand new elective for the musically inclined called Morgan Rock Band.
The first semester Morgan Rock Band students were all excited to start a legacy for the new class. Band teacher Ray Smith offered several different instruments for the students to play, including guitars, a ukulele, drums, keyboards, and a bass. Mr. Smith taught rock history and created projects so the students could learn more about famous rock artists. “For the first quarter, we focused on influential musicians,” Senior Alex Robison says.
Mr. Smith introduced the students to this project by using a famous artist, Van Morrison, as an example. He then taught how to play Brown Eyed Girl, a late 60’s hit, on piano, saxophone, and guitar. Together, Smith and his students jammed out for three weeks to a song which is still stuck in their heads to this day.
The students began to sing and play music they chose themselves, such as songs like Broadripple is Burning, Devil in Disguise, and The Middle. They also had to create their own music sheets on Google Docs and share them with the rest of the class so everyone could play along. “We found out in our class a lot of kids didn’t know a lot of the old groups that old farts like me know,” Mr. Smith says, and he gave a chance “for some of the students to play tunes that I didn’t know.”
In the second semester class, Mr. Smith created a special day for students to bring in their own songs. “Thursdays are pick your own song day, and then we just, like, jam out,” Senior Jack Holveck says.
During Christmas time, Mr. Smith taught the students how to play Christmas songs, like Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Our Morgan Rock Band then went to the stairs near the lower hub and sang for all to hear. Many peers gathered ’round and sang along, laughed, and clapped after each song.
Although many electives are offered in the Morgan School, Morgan Rock Band is truly a worthwhile class. You will be able to express your musical creativity surrounded by classmates. You can learn about the evolution of rock and how it affects our lives. Most importantly, you can relax and unwind for a while with the instrument of your choice. “I think it’s good to have that kind of course for kids who are interested, it can have that kind of escape from other classes,” Jack Holveck says.
While choosing your electives for next fall, make sure to truly think about joining the Rock Band with Mr. Smith!