Gifford Elementary Choir Invitational Racine, WI

Join four Gifford Elementary School Choirs and a Guest choir on Saturday May 24, 2014 at 2 PM for a fine concert of young voices! The FREE concert will be in the Gifford Auditorium 8332 Northwestern Ave, Racine, WI.

Gifford Children’s Choir, Accent Choir, Caiman Chorus and Cadence choir will perform along with Children’s Choir of Teh Internet. The combined Festival choir will perform two world premieres at the concert. “The Leprechaun” was commissioned from Wallace De Pue of Bowling Green, OH. and “I Feel Cool” was commissioned from Brian Holmes of San Jose California. Gifford choir members contributed to the text of the latter piece. Other repertoire will include South African Freedom Songs in honor of Nelson Mandela, Let Her Go (Passenger), Kaze No Ne from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, The 6 Days of Minecraft and All of Me (Legend).

The Gifford Choirs are directed by Timothy Keith Griffin Jr. and Jack Senzig. More info about the Children’s Choir of teh Internet can be found at http://www.OurMusicalLife.org

Would You Like to See This Covered?

Members of the Gifford Children’s Choir and AppleChor will be making recordings for the indie rock band Cloud Cult’s new album this summer (see OurMusicalLife.com). What do you think about the kids covering and making a video of this Cloud Cult song. It is one of my new all time favorites and I think it would add a lot of meaning to have children singing it. If you watch this for the first time, I would truly like your reaction. The choir will also be making a new fan video for Minecraft.

If you love it as much as me, share it. I want everyone to know what an incredible band this is.

Our Choir in the Media

Thanks to all who have watched and shared our videos. We have gotten some incredible media attention in the past and have recently been recognized in a couple of special ways.

Our Still Alive videos have been receiving a lot of views lately. The sequel to Portal came out a few days ago. NPR’s “Morning Edition” had an interview with Jonathan Coulton and he mentioned our video. Then they played a portion of the audio! JoCo’s new ending song for Portal 2 is really great and Valve did an incredible job keeping the quirky humor and exciting puzzles going. The saying “Now you’re thinking with Portals” will now replace the antiquated “Now you’re cooking with gas.” The game is rated E 10+.

KnowYourMeme.com is the foremost authority on internet memes. Our original “Still Alive” video is now posted there in the “Still Alive” section along with only two other covers including one by Jonathan Coulton himself! Our “A Christmas Trololo” video was posted there earlier this year in the “Trololo: section.

A Christmas Trololo was on G4 TV’s Attack of the Show

The choir has been featured in the Escapist Magazine three times, G4’s “The Feed” twice and on the front page of Digg and Reddit. See the media links to the right.

Here is a run down of some of the view counts (updated: 2/19/12):
Total upload views 2,655,042
“Kids Sing Still Alive Portal” 1,312,805 views
“A Christmas Trololo” 692,027 views
“Still Alive Choir Better Video (Honestly)” 258,587 views
“Kids Sing Still Alive Again” 136,654 views
“Still Alive Full View” 131,970 views
“Kids Sing Radiohead No Surprises” 54,781 views
“Kids Sing Acapella Kelis” 14,257 views
“Kids Sing Gaga/Pomplamoose Telephone at UWP” 10,602 views

Videos of the choirs have been viewed in 198 of the 239 countries and regions of the world. There are 67 countries and 50 US states plus the District of Columbia that have watched the kids more than 1,000 times. Over 90% of the views have come from the top 31
countries, each having viewed the kids more than 10,000 times.

#1 USA:  1,265,690
#2  United Kingdom:  167,928
#3 Brazil: 167,538
#4 Canada: 163,619
#5 Germany: 100,991
#6 Spain: 67,122
#7 Australia: 59,681
#8 Russia: 49,172
#9 France: 46,489
#10 Sweden: 40,689
#11 Poland: 37,588
#12 Netherlands: 33,937
#13 Mexico: 33,303
#14 Norway: 20,740
#15 Italy: 20,256
#16 Finland: 19,384
#17  Japan: 17,653
#18 South Korea: 17,335
#19 Denmark: 16,141
#20 Belgium: 15,338
#21 Chili: 14,896
#22  Argentina: 13,959
#23 Philippines: 13,682
#24 Portugal: 13,550
#25 Singapore: 13,361
#26 Hungary: 12,106
#27 Ireland: 11,716
#28 Ukraine: 11,584
#29 Czech Republic 11,217
#30 Austria 10,030
#31 New Zealand 10,015

Videos of the choir have received 65 YouTube honors:
(55 weekly honors and 10 monthly honors)
Here are the honors they were given

#5 Top Favorited (4/3/10)) – Music
#5 Top Rated (4/3/10)) – Music
#6 Most Viewed (12/22/10) Entertainment – Russia
#6 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Sweden
#8 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Music – Canada
#9 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Australia
#10 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music
#10 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Music
#10 Most Viewed (12/22/10) Entertainment – Spain
#11 Most Viewed (12/22/10) Entertainment – Poland
#13 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – New Zealand
#15 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – United Kingdom
#15 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Ireland
#15 Most Viewed (12/22/10) Entertainment -Netherlands
#17 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Music – Spain
#17 Most Viewed (12/22/10) Entertainment -Canada
#18 Top Favorited (4/3/10))
#18 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Sweden
#19 Most Viewed (12/22/10) – Entertainment -New Zealand
#19 Most Viewed (12/22/10) – Entertainment
#19 Most Viewed (12/22/10) – Entertainment – New Zealand
#19 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment
#25 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Australia
#30 Most Viewed 12/22/10)) – Entertainment – United Kingdom
#30 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – France
#31 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Mexico
#39 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Russia
#40 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Germany
#40 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Ireland
#40 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – South Africa
#42 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Sweden
#46 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – India
#52 Top Rated (4/3/10))
#52 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Czech Republic
#53 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Music – Netherlands
#56 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Canada
#59 Most Viewed (4/3/10))
#65 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Israel
#67 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Brazil
#69 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Mexico
#72 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Israel
#77 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – United Kingdom
#78 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – Music – Czech Republic
#78 – Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Italy
#83 Most Viewed (4/3/10)) – New Zealand
#83 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Spain
#87 – Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Entertainment – Argentina
#88 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Music
#91 Most Viewed (4/10/10)) – Music – Poland
#92 Most Viewed (4/10/10))
#93 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Russia
#104 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Poland
#148 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – Netherlands
#155 Most Viewed (12/22/10))
#159 Most Viewed (12/22/10)) – New Zealand

Monthly Honors (10)
#10 Top Rated (April,2010)) – Music – Global
#12 Top Rated (April, 2010)) – Music
#14 Most Discussed (April, 2010)- Music
#22 Top Favourited (April,2010)) – Music – Global
#34 Top Favorited (April, 2010)) – Music
#53 Most Viewed (April,2010)) – Music – Global
#61 Most Discussed (April,2010)) – Music – Global
#68 Top Favorited (January, 2011) Entertainment- US
#79 Most Discussed (April, 2010)) – Music #85 – Top Favourited
#106 Most Viewed (January, 2011) Entertainment- US

A Christmas Trololo

Here is the kids Christmas card to you, people of the world. This turned out amazingly well. I am very proud of the kids and the Racine community! There are special appearances by our principal and motivational speaker Jeff Eben, the Trololobot, the big guy himself and our mini-Chell in her cake dress.

This was a Racine community event. This win belongs to all of you. The audience was invited for the purpose of making this singing Christmas card. We especially appreciate Mrs. Bieri and the kids from the Gilmore M.S. Choir for joining us. Others included family members, students from other schools and local residents. The audience practiced for an hour with the kids while the band practiced in another room. Then we practiced coordinating everything for an hour. Then we ran three takes.

It is my great pleasure to work with 80 of the most terrific music ambassadors on the planet. They work very hard to entertain their families and you. Many kids came sick to the taping and some had to leave as they couldn’t keep their breakfast down. Someone wrote a comment on our Still Alive video that has stuck in my head. He said: “Imagine when these kids are in high school and their friends say “You were in THAT choir.” Being in choir is the coolest place to be!

Amazing parents at Gifford have supported my crazy ideas and allowed me to do strange texts and have their kids do unusual homework. Parents regularly check my communication blog to free me from having to get letters out. We couldn’t do this without them.

I chose Trololo for several reasons. We spend a lot of time working on vowels. Trololo is all that and then some. I thought the kids would sound great singing it.

I try to choose repertoire that will entertain our local audience as well as people from around the world. Trololo is a very entertaining song. I am looking for repertoire to entertain specific online communities. My ultimate goal would be to create entertainments for some of the communities I enjoy such as Reddit and the escapist. Lyrics anyone?

I have two incredible colleagues that bring amazing skills to our team. Katie McCormick is an extremely gifted choreographer, figure skater, pianist and choir teacher. I am your typical geeky guy with two left feet. I couldn’t begin to get the kids to do the things she can. She took the stereotypical moves of Eduard Khil and turned them into useable choreography.

The other is Angela-Janota Peavler. She is our strings teacher at Gifford. Angela has an eye for visual presentation and costuming. When we met to talk about Trololo I presented Angela with my desire to put the kids in masks. Eduard Khil performed Trololo with a plastic smile plastered on his face. The masks gave them that look. (With a little WTH mixed in). The parents picked out the masks for their kids. Angela took it a step farther and told me about her animatronic robot. She dressed him like Trololo Man and Trololobot was born. I also asked Angela to provide stage decorations to give the performance a holiday feel.

We had originally planned to use much more footage of the robot but that changed. I was driving up to my farm in central WI last August and was struck with an idea. I pulled off I94 and called Angela mid trip to pitch my idea to turn Trololo into a Christmas song. It is such a happy tune and filled with synonyms for Ho Ho Ho. I thought it was the perfect storm. In the end the Halloween nature of the robot might have worked for Tim Burton, but it took away from the Christmas feel. We brought Angela’s Still Alive Cake Dress back to tie into our video from last March.

Other members of the team included Jeni Balch who suggested this piece back in April instead of the Rick Roll. Ken Norman directed the pit band. Brett Halladay saved the day when the kids knocked the robot’s head off. He also made the iconic backdrop from the original Trololo video. My daughter Hallie has played bells for us on Radiohead’s No Surprises, Still Alive and now on this one. Other helpers included Chris Janus recording assitant, Mike Cobb played Drums, Brad Karas who has been playing bass for me since he was a student at Park High School where I used to teach, Eric Weiss on trumpet, Cathy Gabbey and Angela Peavler on Violin, and Russel Skewes on Baritone. Gary Alvarado of A.V.A. Media Solutions filmed the event.

When I tried to find the music for Trololo I was completely unsuccessful. I resorted to a message in a bottle and emailed a Russian man that had donated a few $$ to our choir after “Still Alive” (thank-you PayPal) Alexander Kutznetov found the score on a Russian music site and then translated the opening credits for me. What a great world the internet is.

My son Donovan helped me with the video clips on iMovie. The new version had me stumped.

The kids performed Trololo live at our all school concert Dec 11 for our audience of about 3,500 people along with a couple other holiday numbers. Katie McCormick’s Caiman Chorus brought the house down with three amazing performances, our 7 grade level choruses did an amazing job and we premiered the first performance of the Racine Community Choir which included community members, parents, friends and Gifford students.

The Gifford Choirs have partnered with the Racine Dairy Statesman, The Choral Arts Society of Southeast Wisconsin, and the UW Parkside Master Singers. These fabulous local choirs give us mutual support and help provide our families with opportunities to join and hear adult choirs.

Gifford School is the flagship elementary of the Racine Unified School District. Last year our 5th grade students scored at 97% competency in reading and math. Our new principal Jeff Eben was the deputy mayor of Fresno California and the director of the Fresno convention and Visitors bureau. With his leadership we will continue to grow and succeed. Our District recently stepped up by providing state of the art laptops for all teachers and gave us access to high speed internet. This project would have been impossible without the proper equipment and access. Racine has it’s share of urban difficulties but there are so many dedicated educators and staff that it is an excellent place to raise children. I have 5 kids at 4 different schools and they are all receiving an excellent education.

If you are still reading this far into this post I have to give you the pitch. We have a budget of $200 from our PTA. The more exposure we get the more expenses we get. Consider clicking on the donate button.
Thanks!
Jack Senzig
Gifford Children’s Choir Director

Unveiled: Our First Project 2010-2011

Press Release:

Trololol Internet Meme Recreation

What does a Racine children’s choir that has received over 750,000 views on YouTube do for an encore?  More of the same, with a twist.

Last year, the Gifford Children’s Choir posted their video of “Still Alive” from the video game Portal to YouTube.  The video went viral and brought international attention to the choir and to Racine, WI.   Since then the choir was asked to audition for a TV show and has been invited to sing all over the world.

Director Jack Senzig has his sites set on a million views.  To get there he is calling all singers age 14 and above to participate in a cover of the internet meme known as “Trololo” or the “Russian Rick Roll”.   Younger singers can join with a parent.   20 instrumentalists and 400 singers are sought to fill the Gifford Auditorium.    Senzig got the idea from reading the comments on the choir’s videos.  “So many people questioned whether the audience understood what our last song was about, that I thought we would have this audience be in on the joke. I want to show the world what a cool place Racine, WI  is to live and this is a great way to do it.”  The event will be professionally filmed.

Here is the video to practice to:

Trololo will be rehearsed and recorded on December 4, 2010  in the Gifford Auditorium.   There will be an instrumental rehearsal on November 30, 7-8:30 PM at Gifford. Help is also being sought to obtain three Zoom H1 digital recorders and to professionally film the event.  If you want to participate leave your contact information as a comment below or email jon.senzig@racine.k12.wi.us