by Justin Pelletier
The Orff Workshop at Jack Mackenzie was a dive into cultural history of Saskatchewan's landscape. It was extremely fascinating to be taught the origins and background stories surrounding the Qu'Appelle valley. What made it all worthwhile was the welcoming nature of all the teachers involved. As I was the only actual university student there, I was slightly apprehensive to introduce myself, but everyone involved made me feel right at home.
The workshop itself was a delight. It brought a real sense of connectedness among all the focuses of the arts and gave me a really good view of how everything was taught within Orff methodologies. I would have to say my favourite part of the whole experience was seeing the students experiment with movement and dramatization behind the shadow screen. All the students were very enthusiastic and focused with a common goal in mind: to recreate and present the legend of the Qu'Appelle valley. The pieces that were also taught on the xylophones and glockenspiels were utterly fantastic. Four part melodies with students being able to catch on in a matter of an hour was everything a teacher could hope for in his/her classroom.
Overall, the entire day spent was completely beneficial and I am very much looking forward to the next opportunity. I regrettably had to leave before the students were able to perform the whole piece in front of an audience, but next time I will make every effort to be present.