The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra's extensive education and outreach programs have delighted thousands of young people and earned the praise and gratitude of parents and teachers. Orchestral leaders and teachers alike believe that music encourages children to be more creative and strengthens listening and language skills. Each year our Symphony orchestra members go to area schools to perform great music, and master classes are held for accomplished students. Thanks to a generous grant from John C. Jamison, this year there were 17 presentations of Peter and the Wolf at 10 area schools (see descriptions and pictures below).
Tiffany Haas, who played the role of "Glinda" in the Broadway production of Wicked, will conduct a vocal master class for aspiring singers on January 24, location to be determined. Ms. Haas, a Yorktown native, studied opera and musical theater at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. During her time in Cincinnati, she won the title of Miss Ohio in 2002 and went on to compete in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. Ms. Haas continues to please her fan base by regularly appearing with symphony orchestras and cabaret venues throughout the nation. Always an advocate for education, she also leads masterclasses in association with many of their prestigious classical music programs. Masterclasses are free and open to the public. For details, contact Elizabeth.Caine@WJCCschools.org.
Violin Master Class
Violin virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers conducted a master class at the Kimball Theatre for five very fortunate students hailing from around the Peninsula. Deftly and gently, Ms. Meyers coached the students on their techniques and offered suggestions for improvement. As those who attended the Masterworks 2 performances on October 19 and 20 will attest, Ms. Meyers has mastered the art of playing this instrument, and her words and advice were right-on for those who received her instructions.
Master classes are just one component of the Symphony's educational mission, which was the founding principle of this organization. Watch for notices of other master classes conducted by our soloists in March and April. Master classes are open to the public, free of charge. for information about future master classes, contact the Symphony's office at (757) 229-9857.
Anne Akiko Meyers
A Cello Master Class
Masterworks #5 guest soloist Zuill Bailey presented a cello master class at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 1333 Jamestown Road. Six cello students were given an opportunity to play and receive helpful guidance on all aspects of playing this beautiful instrument. Mr. Bailey combined his instructions with stories of his own experiences and historical background for the students' selections. Shown at left is Sterling Elliott, age 15, principal cellist with the Bay Youth Orchestra of Hampton Roads. All master class sessions are free and open to the public, and audience members can learn much about techniques and musical interpretation just by watching and listening!
Violin Master Class
The Symphony's concertmaster, Akemi Takayama, presented a violin master class for six students at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 612 Jamestown Rd. The format for these master classes includes about five minutes for the student to perform a musical selection, after which the master makes suggestions for improvements that ranged from flexibility to positioning of hands, writs, arms and body to practicing. The session closed with her comment, "The key to success is to practice slow; but you can't practice wrong." Ms. Takayama is shown below with (left to right) Ayush Pal, Tate Lee, Gabriel Harding, Shaily Pal and Joy Ma. Click here for a collage of participants.
Conducting Master Class
Five participants worked with the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra, conducting pieces from the classical repertoire and advised by conductors Janna Hymes, Music Director of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (http://www.jannahymes.com), and David Grandis, Music Director of the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra. (http://www.davidgrandis.com). The conductor/students, a mix of middle, high school and college level conductors, demonstrated significant improvement in technique in the 22 minutes they were allotted in front of the orchestra, which was well prepared and professional. Master classes are open to the public.
Instruments for Kids
Donate your retired instruments to deserving young musicians and help them fulfill their dreams of making beautiful music. Donations of instruments are tax deductible.
The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra is collaborating with the Williamsburg Music Club and other organizations to expand our supply of musical instruments for students in need throughout the greater Williamsburg area. Our Instruments for Kids program has found happy homes for many devices.
Symphony Executive Director Carolyn Keurajian is shown above accepting a new violin for LIKEfrom Dave DeBlass of Schmidt Florist, Inc. Thank you!
Symphony VP - Education Lucy Manning is heading this program and will be pleased to provide more information or to pick up your donation. Call her at 757-646-0877 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information click here.
Peter and the Wolf
Music Director Janna Hymes talks to students at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School on Jan. 13.
Students at J. B. Blayton Elmentary were so grateful for the performance at their school that they wrote a thank-you note to Mr. Jamison. They LOVED everything in the presentation, especially hearing the instruments portray the characters in the story.
A generous grant by John C. Jamison enabled hundreds of elementary level children in the WJC system and area private schools to hear a live performance by The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra of Prokofiev's charming tale set to music. Between Jan. 12 and Jan. 23, Music Director Janna Hymes conducted an ensemble from Williamsburg's own professional orchestra to the delight of the students and the appreciation of teachers and parents.
Mr. Jamison first heard Peter and the Wolf as a four-year-old pre-school student attending a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. This seminal experience was the beginning of his life-long devotion to Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 composition as a teaching tool. When Mr. Jamison narrated the score six years ago, he observed how the students became mesmerized by the characters' sounds as portrayed by the instruments in the orchestra. "Exposure to classical music and musicians creates an indelible link in a child's mind," he says.
Narrating the tale of Peter and friends this year was Kelly Kennedy, a featured musician and vocalist with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as well as an actor well known to regional theater audiences. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Hymes introduced the "characters," and the musicians gave an impromptu solo to demonstrate the instruments' sounds. A lively Q&A session ended the program.
Gary Black - Principal, Stonehouse Elementary School
“Thanks for coming and performing for our students. Your team was awesome, and the kids and staff really enjoyed it. I heard a lot of them humming the songs throughout the day in their classrooms.”
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