Renee Gigax, music teacher at Crestview Elementary in Brunswick, loves music. And, during the first week of May, Crestview students participate in a fun weeklong celebration inspired by Gigax’s love and appreciation of Star Wars music composer John Williams.
The inspiration for Gigax’s week came easily. “May the 4th” sounds like the iconic Star Wars quote, “May the force be with you.” As a result, Gigax dedicated the week to celebrate both Star Wars and other movies that Williams has scored, as well as his accomplishments.
When asked how Gigax started to like the composer John Williams, she said, “I grew up in Cincinnati, and was gifted a tape in the early 90's [yes, I'm that old] of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra playing John Williams' most popular works, including ET, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Superman. I took that tape to college and made it my go-to music for walking to class. I really wore out that tape, and learned how much I loved John Williams. Later, I learned that other movie music that I enjoyed, like from Hook, also happened to be written by Williams.”
Over the course of the week, Gigax reviews with younger students movies Williams has conducted music for, as they listen to the songs and learn how the music has impacted listeners and movie-viewers. Older kids listen to Williams’ music more in-depth, discussing with Gigax whether each song is in a major or minor key.
“May the 4th, which is dubbed "Star Wars Day", gives me the opportunity to connect music that students already know and love to the living composer, John Williams,” Gigax explained. “It also allows me to show them the power that music has on emotions, even without the use of words.”
“I will always remember the smile and the wave that my hero gave right back to me,” she added. In turn, Gigax hopes she can extend that same gesture to all of the students whose lives she touches.
Madelyn Woolard, a sixth-grader at Brunswick Middle School, is one of over fifty student “backpack journalists” (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The program is sponsored by KDK Mitsubishi, Discount Drug Mart, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Scripps Howard Foundation, and the Brunswick Rotary Club. Go to https://www.bcsoh.org/domain/1154 to learn more about the Program, or visit https://thebeat.viebit.com to view videos produced by the students.