Little bodies, big voices: Greenfield elementary schools start chorus program
Chorus teacher Elizabeth Markofski leads a group, of 30 second- and third-graders from the Discovery School at Four Corners, in song. Markofski was hired this summer to help create an elementary school chorus prorgram. (Recorder/Chris Shores) Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — On a Thursday afternoon in October, the halls of The Discovery School at Four Corners were filled with the sound of Christmas carols.
It isn’t just early excitement for the winter holiday. A chorus of second- and third-graders, about 60 in number, meet weekly to practice songs in preparation for a December concert.
The chorus class is part of an expanded elementary school program taught by new teacher Elizabeth Markofski. About 135 students participate in weekly classes at Four Corners, Newton and Federal Street schools.
“When we hired Beth, we said that building elementary choruses is part of our goal,” said Superintendent Susan Hollins. “We are thrilled that she joined us.”
Any interested second- and third-graders could join the chorus. For many of the students, the program is their first exposure to singing in a large group and preparing for an on-stage performance, said Markofski.
“It’s just an exciting opportunity to be with kids,” she said. “They’re excited to hear so many people singing at one time. It’s fun.”
At the beginning of the chorus session, students warm up both their voices and bodies. Then, with Markofski’s mezzo soprano voice leading the group, the students sing popular holiday tunes.
Each school will have a holiday concert in December for students to perform in front of their families and friends.
With the Federal Street School administrative offices adjacent to the music room, principal Nancy Putnam said she loves being able to hear the singing all day long.
“Some kids ... have a love of music,” she said. “This allows that child to excel, in something they may love, at an early age.”
Donna Gleason, principal of the Discovery School at Four Corners, praised Hollins for allowing the music program to grow.
“Most districts in tough fiscal times tend to cut the arts,” said Gleason. “(Hollins) truly believes in the arts, and is always encouraging the arts.”
When the holidays are over, students will stop singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and learn songs from the musicals “Grease,” “The Sound of Music” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
And there will be some introduction to opera as well, as students will sing and act out songs from “Hansel and Gretel,” said Markofski.
Markofski — in her second year as a music teacher, and her first at Greenfield — earned a master’s degree in music education from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre from the Catholic University of America.
She also teaches middle school chorus — reaching about 30 students — and is hoping to increase the program size in coming years.
Chris Shores can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264