“I knew it was a far shot because the other groups that auditioned were middle-school aged.”
Loveland, Ohio – Last year Loveland Elementary teacher Michele Henn submitted a recording of Mallet Madness to audition for one of four spots performing at the National Convention of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, which will be held in Cincinnati this year. Orff-Schulwerk is the approach to music education used by thousands of teachers in America and is used in the Loveland elementary schools. Henn said, “I knew it was a far shot because the other groups that auditioned were middle-school aged. Well, our 4th grade group really pulled it out and we received one of the coveted spots.”
Mallet Madness is an advanced percussion group of 20-24 fourth grade students at Loveland Elementary School. The group performs complicated pieces for xylophone, drum, accessory percussion, and recorder. Roughly 70-90 students audition for membership each year. The group rehearses before school, three days per week, from October through May. Ensemble members show tremendous dedication by arriving to school early simply for the joy of making music together.
This year, Mallet Madness will perform at the National Convention of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (the approach to music education used at LES, LPS, and LECC). This is quite an honor, as the group will perform for music teachers from all corners of the country. Numerous ensembles from neighboring states competed for a chance to perform. Mallet Madness earned one of four performance positions, and they were one of the youngest ensembles to audition.
Students from the 2017-2018 season of Mallet Madness are currently rehearsing throughout September and October to prepare for their November 10th performance at the Duke Energy Center.
From Mrs. Henn:
When we started Mallet Madness ten years ago, my teaching partner and I simply approached a few students that really seemed to enjoy music. We asked them if they would like to come to school early a few times per week and make music. That’s it. It was no big deal. Over the years the ensemble has grown in popularity and now we have multiple performances per year and a large number of students audition to join the group.
Mallet Madness means so much to me personally because I am energized by the artistic atmosphere created by this group. I am able to push the group to perform music that in any other setting would probably not be attainable. This fulfills many needs for me as a musician, teacher, and director.