Music at Bing

By Beth Wise, Associate Director 

Bing Nursery School Performance Series presented a feast of musical experiences for the 2016-17 school year. It began Oct. 22, 2016, with a performance of “Green Eggs and Hamadeus,” an original production by acclaimed conductor Rob Kapilow, host of the NPR series “What Makes It Great.” It featured Kapilow, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford chamber music students, vocalist Claire Kuttler and actor Hayden Wall, with two sold-out performances at Stanford’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium. At a February 4, 2017 performance at the Pan-Asian Music Festival, held at the Bing Concert Hall, we co-presented “A Celebration of Music from Iran: Family Concert: Singing, Drumming & Dancing from Iran.” The performance introduced families to amazing performing arts traditions that included dancers Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam and Sahar Dehghan, and the Zagros Trio Ensemble musicians. We concluded the series on May 27 with a free concert by the award-winning and highly captivating singer-songwriter of children’s music, Raffi, made possible by anonymous donors. With many of the parents also growing up listening to Raffi’s melodious songs, it was an especially touching and engaging event for the whole family. The performance series concerts are open to the community, with transportation sponsored by former Bing parent Rita Whitney, and complimentary tickets offered to over 250 children annually from surrounding communities who may not otherwise be able to attend. 
Left to right: Rob Kapilow and the St. Lawrence String Quartet , Green Eggs and Ham
A Celebration of Music from Iran: Singing, Drumming & Dancing from Iran
Singer-songwriter Raffi
At Bing, children are not only exposed to music and dance in the classroom and during special events, but often create their own songs and melodies as they move through the environment with their peers. On a day-to-day, week-by-week basis, teachers also fill the day with songs, story plays, music times and spontaneous melodies that arise when working with children. As part of Bing’s tradition of music making, we had several in-house performances with staff and parents as the main performers. 
Our music specialist, Leslie Hart, arranged a musical afternoon in November by bringing her brass quintet, “Emerald Brass Quintet,” to perform on the Center Room lawn for the afternoon classes. In April, Hart also invited Christopher Azzara, an internationally renowned music teaching and learning scholar from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, to visit and meet with staff for lunch to discuss musical ideas and his observations of the school. The day culminated with a school sing-along in the atrium led by me, Azzara, Hart and her husband, Dave Hart, a musician and music teacher at Harker School in San Jose.
Emerald Brass Quintet
We ended our school year in June with an evening concert and sing-along on the Center Room lawn, organized by Hart and me. Parents brought blankets and picnics, and children were excited to join their peers for an evening of music. The band was composed of staff and Bing family members past and present as well as several local musicians. Music is a constant in our lives and a powerful way to unite the community in rhythm and song!