ABS Thursday Notes- October 1, 2015

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                              October 1, 2015



How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.” – Elie Weisel

Brundibár is a children’s opera by Czech composer Hans Krása, based on a cheerful folk tale. It is widely regarded as the finest opera ever composed for children to sing (with an adult orchestra.) It premiered in 1941, at a Jewish orphanage in Prague. In 1942, Hans Krása was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Terezin concentration camp, where an estimated 33,000 people died of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. 88,000 people were sent from Terezin to Auschwitz and other death camps. The Nazis allowed the children of Terezin to perform Brundibár at least 55 times, routinely shipping the young singers to death camps afterward, to be replaced by a new cast of children. When the International Red Cross visited Terezin in 1944, the Nazis theatrically staged the camp as a temporary showpiece to refute growing allied suspicions that Jews were being exterminated. Terezin was staged with a new Kindergarten, a park, flowers, rich food, and concerts. The prisoners were dressed in fine clothing. Just before the arrival of the Red Cross, the Nazis shipped 7,500 people to Auschwitz, to create more open space. The opera Brundibár was performed for the Red Cross visitors, to demonstrate how happy and productive the children of Terezin were. Red Cross representatives reported to the world that Nazi prison camps were safe, clean, and pleasant. Immediately after the Red Cross departed, the cast and the composer were sent to Auschwitz to be killed. This innocent little opera has carried the weight of its terrible historical context, ever after.

The Arts Based School’s 7th Graders perform Brundibár annually, as part of a state-required study of World War II, the Holocaust, and genocide. One year, a surviving cast member, Ela Weissberger, visited us and shared memories of the friends she had loved and lost. She stood with our students to join in the “Victory Song,” and asked us always to remember her friends. Memoirs of children who lived at Terezin, the testimony of surviving cast members, historic video footage of a Brundibár performance at the prison camp, and the experience of singing the very notes those children sang, help us consider the Holocaust through the eyes of young victims whose memory we keep alive through this project. We sing in solidarity with those lost friends.


Brundibár will be performed by all ABS 7th graders outdoors, with a professional orchestra, in the 7th Street courtyard on October 22nd at 7:00 p.m. (Rain date: October 23rd, 5:15 p.m.) The opera lasts about one hour. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.


Fun at the Fair!

“The work is a tremendous representation of our students’ abilities.  I am so proud! There were many, many more works that we both would have liked to include, but our space was very limited.” – Betsy Messick, ABS K-4 art teacher

The Arts Based School will boast its first art display ever at The Dixie Classic Fair this year. Charter schools are not invited to participate in the judged displays mounted by the local school system, but they are now allowed to display selections of student art work.  ABS art teachers Betsy Messick and Elizabeth Gledhill selected from among works produced last school year, and hung the display in the Education Building at the fairgrounds yesterday. The fair opens tomorrow. Artwork by the following students is represented: Grace Stewart, James Cash, Rosemary Blackmon, Aubrey DeVaughn, Mariah Moore, Lily Ashburn, Kadence Giles, Tahkeem Hudgins, Jackson Stewart, Lilly Greene, Paxton Broome, Addison Powell, Lailah Clay, Maya Whitaker, Spencer Watkins, Zoe Marazita, Madalyn Ryon, Joshua Boger, Joseph Davila and Ella Marion.

In addition to visual art, some of our performing artists volunteered their time to record radio spots for The Dixie Classic Fair through Wildfire agency. According to talent agent Sims Bullock, they made her job fun and easy.  She reported that the director and the agency were impressed with their professionalism and ability.    The participants in the radio spots are: Sania Williamson, Kerith Bell, Eve Wilbur, Julian Wilson, and Austin Willard.


Kinder Visits the Fair

Kindergarten will visit the fair on Monday, October 5th. We skip the rides, toys and the greasy food, and visit the farm entries, to coincide with our studies.  After days of rain, there is likely to be some mud, so boots and rain coats are in order!


Don’t Be Late!

School begins at 8:15am.  Students should arrive at school between 7:45 and 8:10.    Students are counted tardy if they’re not in their classroom at 8:15am. The student entrance is locked at 8:15 a.m. After 8:15 a.m., parents must park and escort their child(ren) to the front office entrance and sign in.


Picture Day-October 6

Smile!  Each student at ABS will have his/her photograph taken on Tuesday, October 6.  This photo will be used for the school’s yearbook.    Proofs of your child’s school photos will come home in a few weeks to purchase photos.  Picture make-up day will be held on Friday, November 6th.


Salem Academy Visit

A representative from the Admissions Office at Salem Academy will visit ABS on Wednesday October 7th. Any girls in 7th or 8th grade who would like information or would like to ask questions about Salem Academy may come to an optional  lunchtime meeting on this date. We have invited other local high schools to come to ABS and will inform families as those dates are finalized.


Changes due to Weather Forecast:

Field trips to Reynolda Gardens (5th grade) and Water Treatment Plant (8th grade) will go on as scheduled.  Eighth graders will not stay for a picnic at Salem Lake but will return to school at 11:30.


Fall Fest is postponed until Saturday, Oct. 10.


Clean Sweep Postponed Until Saturday, Oct. 10 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.



Book Fair ends Friday, October 2

Friday will be the last day to shop at the book fair! We will be open from 7:45-3:30. You may shop at the online book fair until Oct. 6. Go to www.artsbasedschool.com and click on the online book fair link.


Parent Council Meeting Friday, Oct 9

If you have any items you would like considered for the agenda, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler@gmail.com) or Michelle Hopkins Lawrence (mhopkins@alumni.princeton.edu) by Tuesday, October 6.


Flu Season

As you know, flu can be easily spread from person to person.  We are asking for your help in reducing the spread of flu at ABS.  The symptoms for the seasonal flu and H1N1 are the same: fever of 100 degrees or more, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired.  Students with these symptoms will be sent home.

You can help us by taking these simple steps:

  • Teach children to wash their hands often.
  • Teach your children not to share food or drink.
  • Teach children to cough or sneeze into their elbows to avoid spreading germs.
  • Keep sick children home.
  • Children must be fever-free for 24 hrs before returning to school.
  • Get the flu vaccine for you and your children.

Special Thanks to Jennifer Stephens and   Rite Aid Pharmacy at Thruway for providing the free flu shot clinic for faculty and staff at ABS!


Halloween is Coming

Please do not send students to school in costumes.  We all enjoy the fun and excitement of Halloween but find that costumes and accessories make it very difficult to concentrate.  Also we do not want students to bring candy in their lunch bags for snacks.  Although it can be delicious, high sugar snacks should not replace a healthy snack.  Thanks for your help!