Music is an integral part of life at The Galloway School. From the classroom to the stage, students are immersed in a world of sound that includes many genres and traditions of music that cut across cultures and time. Music is used as a vehicle for learning and assessment in arts integrated lessons in the general classroom and is studied as its own discipline in music classes. Each student finds their own musical talents through participation in one of the performing ensembles, recording studio projects, composition and songwriting classes, running sound production for events or by creating an original ensemble or project.

Guest artists bring current trends in the music industry to life through live performances, master classes and guest lectures throughout the year. Music technology is utilized throughout the curriculum as a vehicle for creating, recording and practicing music. Outstanding large and small musical ensembles allow students to develop technique, notation reading skills and musicianship. Galloway graduates who choose to pursue a music career are prepared to study music at a variety of prestigious universities including Berklee, Belmont, University of Indiana and the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna in Vienna, Austria. More importantly, all Galloway graduates leave with a love of music that will last a life-time!

Early Learning

  • Students are surrounded by music everyday in their classrooms. Classroom teachers use music as a tool for teaching content, memorization, making historical and cultural connections and for the sheer enjoyment of listening and singing together.
  • Students participate in music classes each week in the music room. They grow deeper musical understandings with our music teacher as they build their singing skills, play a variety of instruments, create their own musical arrangements and learn musical concepts around melody, harmony, rhythm, form and musical expression.
  • Students share what they have learned in integrated units collaboratively created by the classroom and music teachers. Parents and peers are invited to performances built around a variety of topics relating to historical periods, multicultural explorations and concepts relating to math, language arts and science.
  • Students experience live performances featuring a variety of musicians from in and outside the school community. Weekly Wonderful Wednesday Performances, quarterly Fabulous Friday Concerts and at a variety of concerts held in the Chaddick Theater throughout the school year feature musical styles from classical music to blues, a cappella ensembles to symphony orchestras and rock bands.

Middle Learning

  • Grades 5 and 6: Music in ML builds on the foundation of the Early Learning music program. Students in grades 5 and 6 continue to participate in two general music classes a week dedicated to creating, performing and responding to a variety of musical selections from across cultures and time periods. In addition to general music studies, students in grades 5 and 6 also participate in band, orchestra, chorus or guitar ensemble two days a week. Students may also elect to participate in the percussion-based World Music Ensemble, which meets two days a week after school.
  • Grades 7 and 8: Students in grades 7 and 8 may elect to continue their musical studies in band, orchestra, chorus or guitar ensemble. These ensembles perform a number of concerts throughout the school year for the Galloway community and beyond. Past tours have included venues in New York City and Vienna, Austria. Additional musical electives in grades 7 and 8 include music technology, beginning guitar, history of rock and roll and song writing and digital recording. Prior experience playing an instrument or reading music notation are not required for these electives.
  • Grades 5 to 8: Additional performing opportunities abound for students desiring to share their talents through participation in the Junior Theatre Company musical, pep-band, talent show, regional and all-state events or at one of the Wonderful Wednesday Performances held in the Chaddick Center for the Arts weekly throughout the year.

Upper Learning

  • Students in grades 9 – 12 receive Fine Arts credit for participating in Band, Orchestra, Guitar Ensemble or Chorus. Rehearsals are held during the school day and include a wide variety of musical styles from classical to rock and roll to world music. Each ensemble presents a variety of concerts throughout the year for the Galloway community and beyond.
  • Additional electives in music include AP Music Theory, Digital Music Recording, Music X, and Song Writing. The musical interests and talents of the students drive these electives. Galloway’s music faculty work closely with professionals in the music industry in developing the courses, inviting in guest artists from the music community to work with the students and give professional feedback on student generated work with an eye towards providing students with real world experiences related to the music industry.
  • A variety of performing opportunities abounds for interested UL students. In addition to participation in Band, Orchestra, Guitar Ensemble or Chorus, students may sign-up to play in the pit for the Galloway Theatre Company musical, play in the pep band for home sports events, participate in the Jug Band led by a beloved UL history teacher, improvise with the jazz ensemble or begin their own rock band with support from the music faculty.
  • Students interested in pursuing music as a career may also wish to participate in GISA Honors Orchestra, Chorus and Band and the GMEA All State Ensembles with support from the Galloway music faculty.

Faculty Biographies

Peggy Benkeser, UL Percussion Ensemble and World Music Ensemble

In addition to her work as Director of the Arts, Peggy Benkeser relishes her time spent making music with students! A professional percussionist by training, Ms. Benkeser has performed throughout the United States and Europe as a member of Thamyris New Music Ensemble and the trio Hammers and Sticks. A life-long fascination with World Music has resulted in years studying and performing music from West Africa, Trinidad, Indonesia and Ireland. Peggy has taught music for over 25 years to students ranging in age from 2 years old to 90. At the Galloway School she is the director of the World Music Ensemble, ML and UL percussion ensembles and also teaches classes in music technology, song-writing and digital recording. Peggy holds a Masters Degree in Music from Georgia State University and her Bachelors of Music from the University of Illinois.

Kerren Berz, ML and UL Orchestra

As a music educator, Kerren Berz has worked with the Columbus Urban League, the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus, and with strings students throughout the Atlanta area. She is a former orchestra director at Spelman College and for the Chattanooga High School for Performing Arts. Currently Concertmaster of the Columbus (GA) Symphony, Ms. Berz has also recorded and toured with the Atlanta Symphony, the Harlem Festival Orchestra, and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Berz is also well respected in the popular music industry and has shared the stage with musical legends, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, and Joni Mitchell. As a music arranger and performer, she is featured on albums by Outkast, Pink, Sinead O'Connor, and on the hit single "Survivor," by Destiny's Child. She is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and has participated on nominating committees for the annual Grammy Awards.

Laura Gamble, UL Chorus

Ms. Gamble loves absolutely every aspect of teaching music and has taught a wide range of music courses, including chorus, musical theater, songwriting, world percussion, music technology, praise band, AP Music Theory, and history of popular music. She earned her Master of Music in Music Education from Boston University and her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Georgia. Ms. Gamble is active in many musical endeavors in the Atlanta community, including music directing or playing piano at Act3 Productions, the Atlanta Lyric Theater, the Aurora Theatre, Stage Door Players, Georgia Ensemble and other theaters, in addition to singing with OurSong, the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chorus.

Linda Floyd, EL Music

Linda Floyd has been teaching music for 30+ years, 27 of which have been at The Galloway School. She has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education and Music Therapy from East Carolina University and a Master of Music Degree from Georgia State University. She has taught Elementary, Middle and High School choral and general music. In addition to her duties as Music Educator, Mrs. Floyd frequently accompanies choral groups on the piano and plays in the pit orchestra for the High School musicals. She was the musical director for 8 of Galloway School's Upper Learning musicals.

Mrs. Floyd has worked in the after-school program at Galloway for many years as a co-teacher with one of the theatre instructors and has taught summer music camps at Galloway and in other settings.

Brian Mitchell, ML & UL Music and Guitar

Brian Mitchell is a professional guitarist, music educator and composer. He has served on the faculties of the University of West Georgia and Georgia Perimeter College where he directed the guitar ensemble in addition to teaching individual and group lessons on guitar. As a composer, his works have been performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C, the High Museum of Art and at colleges and universities throughout the eastern United States. In 2006 he was commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to compose a new score for Sergei Eisenstein’s legendary silent film Que Viva México!. The score for mixed chamber ensemble received its premiere at the opening of The High’s 2006 Latin American Film Festival. Linda Dubler, former Curator of Media Arts at The High Museum said, "Finally, QUE VIVA MEXICO's exquisite black and white imagery has a fitting accompaniment in composer Brian Mitchell's subtle, understated score.” Mr. Mitchell loves all styles of music and has a lifelong addiction to classic rock.

Dr. Diane Woodard, ML Chorus

Dr. Diane Woodard is the Middle Learning Choral Director and has been a member of the Galloway faculty since 2002. Prior to Galloway she was the Choral Director at Jonesboro High School. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music and the Educational Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Educational Leadership. Dr. Woodard is a Past President of the Georgia Music Educators Association. She is a Certified Head Judge for GMEA’s Large Group Performance Evaluations. In 2005, Dr. Woodard was named the Music Educator of the Year for Georgia. Dr. Woodard is a member of the Grammy Award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. She is a vocalist on ASO recordings that have received 13 Grammy Awards. Dr. Woodard has served on the boards of The Georgia Chamber Players and The Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde. During her tenure at Galloway her Middle Learning choral groups have performed five times in Carnegie Hall, twice as the featured choir for the National Middle School Choral Festival. The Chorus has also performed twice at the International Advent Sing in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria and will be returning to the Advent Sing in December 2015. Dr. Woodard is a member of the National Association for Music Education, The Georgia Music Educators Association and a life member of the American Choral Directors Association. She is listed in Who’s Who in America.

Erin Moore, ML and UL Band

Erin Moore has a BM in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and has most recently been teaching elementary school band at three schools for Atlanta Public Schools. The granddaughter of a film and stage actress and a high school band director and daughter of accomplished symphony orchestra and chamber music musicians, Ms. Moore has had a passion for music, theater, and musical theater since before she was born.

Student Life
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