Jamie DeVoe to speak at U of M 2.18

Written by David Green.

Morenci Area High School band director Jamie DeVoe can add the title Guest Lecturer to his name—at least for one day in April.school.m.devoe.jpg

Mr. DeVoe is enrolled in the University of Michigan’s summer master’s program and one of his professors, music education chair Dr. Marie McCarthy, became interested in the Music Appreciation class he teaches in Morenci.

Dr. McCarthy was looking for a good music class for her undergraduate students to observe in their Secondary General Music course and those classes are often hard to find.

“The difficulty of finding a class like that in high schools around here is because most band/choir directors teach only band and/or choir—many times both—and don’t offer a class like music appreciation,” Mr. DeVoe said. “I’ve taught it since I started here almost three years ago. It was added to replace the choir class that was dropped before I was hired.”

Dr. McCarthy sat in on a class session in Morenci and talked to Mr. DeVoe afterwards. She decided the drive from Morenci was too far for her undergrads to visit for a practice teaching session, so she chose the next best thing—inviting Mr. DeVoe to Ann Arbor to speak to her class.

“She wanted to use my class as an example and use some of my ideas, and she asked me to be a guest lecturer in her class in April,” Mr. DeVoe said.

He views his Music Appreciation class as a supplement to the band program. Band is still the best place to learn about music, he said, but this offers students more to consider.

“I wanted to teach a class where kids learned about what I call ‘musical common sense’ and get them to listen and learn about music they may not typically listen to,” he said.

Mr. DeVoe presents a variety of musical styles, going chronologically from the beginning of “Western” music to the history of rock and roll.

“We have a listening assignment each day that covers listening skills, the history behind the music, and how it relates to society at the time,” Mr. DeVoe said. “I try to incorporate general world history and political aspects of the time, as they usually coincide quite closely.”

His goal is to broaden musical horizons, and he’s successful with many students. Some will leave class with an appreciation of musical styles they initially thought they wouldn’t enjoy. He’s even made some CDs of classical music and jazz to share.

“The majority probably still don’t like a lot of it, but hopefully they understand and appreciate that they wouldn’t have the music they do now if it weren’t for the hundreds of years of musical development we talk about in class.”

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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