Sunday, June 8, 2014

Community MusicWorks: Daily Orchestra Program Update: End of Year!


Community MusicWorks Blog

June 03, 2014

Things have been busy at the Daily Orchestra Program! From learning the story of Johann Sebastian Bach’s life (in three action-packed installments, complete with cliffhangers) to performing two concerts, our students have had no shortage of things to do and music to learn! As usual they have been embracing it all with enthusiasm, and as we draw closer and closer to the end of the school year the fruits of their hard work are starting to show themselves in exciting ways.

We spent much of this semester preparing a full program of music, including four short pieces. The first-year Britten Orchestra worked hard to improve their bow holds and instrument posture and showed off their ease of playing their open strings with the boot-tapping favorite “Tuning Hoe Down.” Meanwhile, the second-year Beethoven Orchestra learned some new, more advanced left-hand finger patterns in order to play a pizzicato bass line for the D-jam Blues (our rendition of Duke Ellington’s C-jam Blues). This meant that the Beethovens actually filled in the role Adrienne Taylor played for them last year, while the Brittens took over for the Beethovens. We also added to the program a cute song referencing the Grimm’s Fairy Tale “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and last but not least the classic theme from the William Tell Overture by Rossini.

We were lucky enough to have two opportunities to perform our repertoire. On the last day before spring break we turned our room at Federal Hill House into an auditorium and presented to families and staff members a full half-hour of music, complete with solo performances! There were feelings of pride and happiness emanating from all corners of the room, and we sent everyone off for spring break feeling victorious!

After spring break we returned to perform the same program again (just like a professional orchestra might do!) at a special event for the Olneyville Housing Corporation. Our students were calm and poised in the face of flashing cameras and chatting event-goers, and their families, anxious not to miss a single moment of the performance, crowded the stage and filled the air with support and cheers after each number.

Now we are in the final stretch to the end of the year, and we are working on some exciting projects. We’re also learning about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, while we learn to sing and play his famous melody Ode to Joy.

-- Lisa Barksdale

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