|Rod Crist teaches Eric, one of our 5th graders, the electric bass|
What inspired me the most was the ability of each nucleo to find opportunities for these ensembles to play together. Instruments that I had never imagined playing alongside one another were doing so effortlessly. I remember vividly a community concert of 500 musicians performing the Venezuelan national anthem - choir accompanied by a full orchestra and a Venezuelan folk ensemble strumming alongside them. El Sistema removed any musical barriers that might have existed between these distinct ensembles and demonstrated beautifully the unifying power of music. Thanks to my time in Venezuela, I came back to Juneau with an entirely different vision of what ensemble might look like in Juneau. Thank you, FENOJIV, for this wonderful gift.
|Standing with members of a Venezuelan Folk Ensemble|
Treehouse School of Music. With funding from a Rasmuson Cultural Collaborations grant administered by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Ben was able to join our team to share the work he did back in Maryland, as well as inspire our young musicians. Morning band and guitar members who mastered certain skills in their respective ensembles were invited to join this Friday morning jam session. Needless to say, the importance of practice took on a whole new meaning as students lined-up to "pass off" on their music.
Instead of playing in the friendly key of C, the Rock Band wind section had to challenge themselves to play in the key of E and B to accommodate the guitars. Clarinets and trumpets had to master notes not introduced in the beginning band book until much later, but because these notes were repeated over and over again throughout the rock songs in an exciting way, success came quickly and easily.
|The wind section of our rock band takes on more challenging keys with enthusiasm!|
Another unexpected benefit was the inclusion of a Morning Musician alum (8th grader, Quinn) whose brother currently plays trumpet at Glacier Valley. Thanks to the dedication of his dad who drives Quinn to school after Rock Band practice, Quinn is able to join us on drums, as well as help teach one of our fifith graders how to play the drum set. Next step: student rock band vocalists!
|Quinn and his dad help connect our elementary program with the middle school|
Here's a short clip of the rock band in rehearsal. For my Facebook friends, you can access the movie on Juneau Music Matters blog: http://juneaumusicmatters.blogspot.com/