Thursday Notes – April 23rd, 2015

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“You are making music in the shadow of the gallows.” – Paul B. Janeczko: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto


The ABS seventh grade will perform Hans Krasa’s opera “Brundibár” next week. The social context in which the opera was originally produced was the impetus for selecting it: the Nazis allowed it to be performed 55 times by children at Terezin concentration camp. The performances were used as Nazi propaganda, to prove to Red Cross inspectors that prisoners were treated generously. Once the inspectors left, the cast of the show was shipped to Auschwitz, and a new cast began rehearsals. Seventh graders study World War II. The memoirs of the young prisoners who performed Brundibár testify that they were only allowed to remove the Jewish star from their clothing long enough to perform the opera. This is a poignant window through which our students can glimpse those dark times. This innocent little opera has carried the weight of its terrible historical context ever after.

The story itself has nothing to do with the war, but for the prisoners, it became symbolic of the struggle to overcome evil. It is a simple Czech folk tale, in which two innocent children take to the village streets in a struggle to procure milk to save their dying mother. Their efforts to earn money for milk by singing are thwarted by the evil organ grinder, Brundibár, who shoos them from his turf. Three friendly animals; a cat, a dog, and a bird, come to their aid and help them gather enough children to overwhelm the villain. They drive him away and sing so beautifully that the people of the village shower them with enough money for milk and more.

(Our students have adapted the three animal characters to become “good-hearted streetwise kids” who earn the nick-names of animals based on their characteristics. )

The Arts Based School 7th Graders perform Brundibár as part of a state-required study of World War II, the Holocaust, and genocide. 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. The first time ABS performed this opera, a surviving member of a Terezin cast, Ela Weissberger, visited us. She stepped up on stage to join us (singing in Czech) for the final “Victory Song” and asked that we always remember her fellow singers. In honor of the children of Terezin, ABS 7th graders will sing the final phrase in the original Czech. We sing in solidarity with those lost friends.


Brundibár Rain Plans

Brundibár is scheduled to be performed in the ABS 7th Street courtyard on Wednesday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m., with a rain date of Thursday, April 30th at 7:00 p.m. If, by noon on April 29th, the forecast is rainy for both days, we will perform “Brundibar” TWICE on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 in the MLK building backspace.

Family and friends of 7A are invited to attend at 7:00 p.m.

Family and friends of 7B are invited to attend at 8:00 p.m.


7A visitors are requested to move their cars immediately after the performance, to provide closer parking for 7B visitors. 7A families will return to pick up their students at 9:00.


Annual Giving

Last week, each family received information about our Annual Giving Campaign.    This week, if you haven’t already, you will be hearing from your Class Campaign Representative – each class has one, some have two!  Never fear, these folks are not there to hound you but simply to serve as a resource should you have any questions.  We’re off to a great start in our first week of the campaign:





Thank you so much for your consideration and participation in the Annual Giving Campaign.  Our goal is 100% participation and we can’t do it without YOU!




EOG/EOC Testing Calendar

We have made some changes to our EOG/EOC calendar.  The updates are listed on the ABS Calendar, so be sure to check them out.

  • Thursday, May 14th: Science (5th & 8th)
  • Friday, May 15th: Math I EOC
  • Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 20: Math and Reading (3rd & 4th)
  • Wednesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 22 Math and Reading (5th & 7th)
  • Friday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 26, Math and Reading (6th & 8th)

Got tickets? 

Don’t miss Community Creates!-May 2, 2015, 7-11p.m.  Tickets are available for purchase $40 per person online at or in the front office at the MLK building.  Questions?  Call or email Claire O’Boyle 336-748-4116 ext 1029,


Spirit Week

Next week will be Spirit Week for 5th – 8th graders. Students who wish to participate may dress up each day according to the themes listed below. Remember that Spirit Week dress should not interfere with anyone’s ability to learn and play comfortably. Clothes should be appropriate for school and not be a distraction to the learning environment.

Monday – Twin Day

Tuesday – Celebrity Day

Wednesday – Wacky Tacky Day

Thursday – Decades Day

Friday – Sports Day

5th – 8th grade students will have a note in the Thursday packet explaining Spirit Week themes.


Notes from Parent Council

Parent Council Elections

Board Elections will be held at our last meeting of the year on May 8. Nominations are still open. Descriptions of the board offices can be found on the ABS website. Please contact Michelle Lawrence ( or Shannon Wright ( if you have any questions.


April 10 Parent Council Meeting

The minutes from the Parent Council Meeting of 4/10 are attached to Thursday Notes.


Jump Rope for Heart a Big Success

Thank you to all who donated to the American Heart Association for our Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser. The K-Kids, with your help, earned $1,622.00 to help people with heart disease and those who work to cure them!


Around Town…

Join the ABS team for Hammerbird 5K  April 25 (Saturday)  Click on the link below to register for the race.  Our group name is the Arts Based Sports Club group.


UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program Auditions

UNCSA is holding auditions for rising 3rd-5th graders on Saturday, May 9th from 10-11am (registration 9:30-10am).  For more information or to download the registration form, visit


WFU Japanese Studies Club is hosting their annual Japanese Spring Festival on Saturday, April 25th from 2-4pm at Manchester Plaza on the WFU campus. The rain location will be Benson Center Room 401. The event is free and open to the public.  It’s a family-friendly event, with an obstacle course challenge, activity booths, and lots of Asian food.