by Mike Telin

TCO-LW-Lisa-WongAs The Cleveland Orchestra makes the final preparations for its second annual Northeast Ohio neighborhood residency from May 17-24 in Lakewood, (a complete listing of dates and times can be found online) extensive educational programs have already been happening since late March.

“One thing that is different about this year’s community residency is the number of educational activities,” Joan Katz Napoli, the Orchestra’s director of education and community programs, said during a conversation. “Each residency is customized to the community, and in Lakewood there is a very high level of music education taking place at every grade level, so this is a great opportunity to engage the musicians with the music teachers.”

Katz Napoli pointed out that meetings with music teachers began last fall when they began the process by posing one question: If you could have musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra come to your school, what would you want them to do? “I am excited, because there were probably twenty teachers around the table and each one had ideas about what would be useful and helpful.”

Katz-Napoli credits Lakewood High School’s director of orchestras, Elizabeth Hankins, for her invaluable guidance in creation of the district-wide activities. “Beth was very concerned that everybody should have an opportunity to participate. She was wonderful to work with and we figured out how to make that happen. Beth knows the most about her schools and students, and unless what we create is useful to them, it’s not useful to us. So this is a partnership in the truest sense of the word.”

What surprised Katz Napoli was the diversity of activities the teachers thought would be helpful and interesting to the students. “What they wanted was hands-on expertise and career advice. They thought it would be great for the musicians to talk about the path one takes to becoming a musician and what you need to start thinking about in middle or early high school in order to make that happen — about how competitive it is but also how fulfilling a career in music can be, as well as pointing out all of the options for a career in music, which is probably something the students might not fully understand.”

Joan Katz Napoli is also excited about the enthusiasm the Orchestra musicians have expressed for educational activities. “This is a opt-in for the players; they sign up for what they most want to do. Some are paid but a lot are not. We have a large number of musicians who are very interested in education and are happy to do it, paid or unpaid.”

One activity of note will take place on Friday, May 23, when Franz Welser-Möst will lead the Orchestra in a concert at Lakewood Civic Auditorium titled Romeo and Juliet. Lakewood High School students have been reading and studying Shakespeare’s famous play during the month leading up to the concert. Students will see the story unfold through music and theater when The Cleveland Orchestra teams up with Great Lakes Theater Festival actors to present Prokofiev’s, Tchaikovsky’s, and Bernstein’s versions of Romeo and Juliet.

Other educational activities include adjudication of instrumental competitions and mock orchestral auditions. Cleveland Orchestra members will also offer tips on how to approach the audition process and managing nerves. A complete list of activities is below.

Monday, March 24 at 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. – Lakewood Catholic Academy, Grade 5

Learning through Music: “Musical Story Writing”

Wednesday, April 2 at 1 p.m. – Lakewood Civic Auditorium

Cleveland Orchestra Education Concert for Lakewood Elementary Schools: Fairy Tales in Music

Wednesday, April 2 at 2:15 p.m. – Lakewood High School

Mock Auditions

Monday, April 7 at 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. – Lakewood Catholic Academy, Grade 5

Learning through Music: “Musical Story Writing”

Monday, April 7, at 9:30 a.m. – Lakewood High School

Lakewood High School Band coaching with Brett Mitchell, Cleveland Orchestra assistant conductor and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra

Wednesday, April 23 at 8:30 a.m. – Harding Middle School

Harding Middle School Choir coaching with Lisa Wong, Cleveland Orchestra assistant director of choruses and director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus

Thursday, April 24 at 12:20 p.m. – Garfield Middle School

Garfield Middle School Choir coaching

Friday, May 9 from 8:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. – Garfield Middle School

Band Clinic/Career Panel: Garfield Middle School Band

Saturday, May 10 at 7:30 a.m. – Garfield Middle School

Adjudication of Middle School Instrumental Competition

Monday, May 12 at 11 a.m. – Harding Middle School

Band Clinic/Career Panel: Harding Middle School Band

Monday, May 19 at 12:20 p.m. – Garfield Middle School

Orchestra Clinic/Career Panel: Garfield Middle School Orchestra

Tuesday, May 20 at 8:30 a.m. – Harding Middle School

Orchestra Clinic/Career Panel: Harding Middle School Orchestra

Tuesday, May 20 at 10 a.m. – Lakewood Catholic Academy, Pre-school through Kindergarten

Musical Rainbow program with a Cleveland Orchestra musician

Tuesday, May 20 at 11:00 a.m. – Lakewood High School

Lakewood High School Chorus coaching with Lisa Wong

Friday, May 23 at 10:10 a.m. – Lakewood Civic Auditorium

The Cleveland Orchestra in Concert, Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

Romeo and Juliet

Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 a.m. – Harding Middle School

Adjudication of Middle School Instrumental Competition

 

Photo: Lisa Wong with the Harding Middle School Choir (Lakewood City Schools).

Published on ClevelandClassical.com May 10, 2014.

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