Monday, October 20, 2014

11,000+ Public School Students Treated to Brand New Concert Experience at Strathmore

From our friends at Strathmore...

Hallmark Strathmore Student Concerts Re-envisioned for 10th Anniversary

Program reaches 11,000+ Montgomery County students with free concert experience over four days

WHAT: Before it echoed with applause from adults, the Music Center at Strathmore heard cheers from children - in 2004, thousands of elementary school students were the first to hear music in the brand-new concert hall. Now, on the occasion of the Music Center’s 10th anniversary, the arts center collaborated with preeminent jazz education organization JazzReach and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to commission an entirely new Blues program for its annual 5th grade Student Concerts. More than 11,000 students will experience this new program at Strathmore from October 21-24, 2014.

While JazzReach musicians are in town, they will also visit four MCPS school jazz bands to conduct clinics.

A hallmark Strathmore education program, the Strathmore Student Concerts were created for 2nd and 5th graders, and have impacted more than 100,000 students.

“We intentionally began our life in this building with the pulsating, vital force of children experiencing music, together.  Like a heartbeat, these concerts are powerful, central, and unending—every child, every 2nd and 5th grade, every year,” said Strathmore President Monica Jeffries Hazangeles. “We believe each child deserves the chance to interact with live music and musicians, regardless of economics, access, or ability, and that these encounters will shape their sense of what is possible in their lives.  For us, the Strathmore Student Concerts are a magical and rhythmic reminder of why we built the Music Center.”

Until this year, the Strathmore Student Concerts focused exclusively on classical music, in partnership with the National Philharmonic. By focusing on the Blues, Strathmore and MCPS are introducing students to a quintessential American genre. They partnered with JazzReach to execute their vision because of its sterling reputation as a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to the promotion, performance, creation, and teaching of jazz music.

The new program celebrates the diversity of cultures and traditions that has made American music what it is today. The musicians onstage personify racial and gender diversity—Strathmore and MCPS were insistent that performers be inclusive and representative of the diversity in their community. The concerts were developed in close collaboration with MCPS music curriculum experts, addressing key concepts 5th graders will master during the school year. All elementary music teachers have pre-concert lessons to prepare students for their experience and strengthen their understanding of concepts contained in the program. The concerts will also illuminate for students how Blues is the foundation for genres more familiar to them, such as rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, and R&B.

The live multi-media educational program will foster an appreciation of the great American Blues tradition. With the goal of teaching timely music curriculum concepts in a highly interactive and thrilling concert experience, the Strathmore Student Concerts include audience participation throughout, as well as supporting video content—live shots of musicians on stage and clips of famous Blues musicians performing.

“Our partnership with Strathmore allows thousands of our students each year to experience music in a very unique and powerful way,” said MCPS Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “This new program for grade 5 students will allow them to gain an understanding of the Blues and the important role it plays in the history of American music.”

The 5th grade student concerts represent a $124,000 investment in the community. Strathmore also hosts a similar program for second graders, bringing the total investment by Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc. and its sponsors, GEICO, Jordan Kitt’s Music and the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, to $248,000.

Strathmore’s 2nd grade Student Concerts will continue to focus on classical music, in alignment with MCPS curricular goals. Those concerts will be held in November.

WHEN: October 21-24, 2014
10:35 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on October 21-23
10:35 a.m. on October 24
Students arrive 45 minutes prior to each concert.      

WHERE: Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852