Friday, September 19, 2014, Ballet Jörgen presented two lecture-demonstrations one for all Geneva Middle School students and staff and the second for all North Street Elementary School students and staff. The dancers started by demonstrating warm up techniques and some basic dance steps, then performed short excerpts from their production of Cinderella to be performed at the Smith Opera House the following evening. They also showed how, since there is no dialog or singing in ballets, certain movements are designed to show the meaning of the story taking place. They asked students to suggest words that indicate a feeling or emotion such as happy, sad, angry, then demonstrated dance movements to reflect them. The program was a beautiful introduction to the art of ballet and many students from both schools responded to our invitation for free attendance at the performance of Cinderella at the Smith the following night.
Ballet Jörgen offered an intermediate/advanced level ballet class at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Friday, Sept 19 from 11:55–1:15. There were 11 students and 1 Dance department faculty member in attendance. The classically structured class was taught by principle dancer Kealan McLaughlin. His class was interactive and challenging and he took time to provide thoughtful feedback to each student who attended.
Participation Summary: 945 students and 91 faculty and staff at the school lec-dems; 11 students and 1 adult at the masterclass.
On Monday, November 3, 2014, Wassa Pan Afrika, a dance/drumming/singing ensemble from Ghana, Africa, led by Nana Anim performed four educational assembly performances in the Geneva Public Schools. Mr. Anim has been in residence in Ithaca, NY since 2007. The rest of the ensemble travelled here from Ghana just for a three-month tour of the Finger Lakes.
In the morning, Mr. Anim, four percussionists, and eight dancers (both male and female) presented a lecture/demonstration for all Geneva High School students in the GHS gym. The high energy, virtuosic, multi rhythm patterns set by the percussionists immediately got the attention and approval of the students. The dancers added interpretive dancing to the rhythm patterns. Mr. Anim explained about the tradition of "call and response" in Africa and had the students respond. At the end of the session, a large number of students were invited to do interpretive dancing individually and in small groups. The students responded with great enthusiasm and seemed to gain a lot from the experience.
Following the assembly, a master class for 41 students took place in the high school mini-gym. African drums were provided and a group of 16 students were taught some basic drumming techniques. Then, while the drumming group played, Mr. Anim and his dancers taught dance movements to a group of 25 students. He also showed how a complicated dance performance includes a series of shorter segments, much like the choreography in a ballet. Again, the students were totally involved and enthusiastic about this experience.
In the afternoon, Mr. Anim and company, performed two separate programs at West Street School, one for Head Start students, ages 3, 4, and 5, and a second for the all students in kindergarten and grades 1 and 2. Mr. Anim taught the call and response technique using singing and clapping, and involved the students in dancing and movement activities. The importance of dancing, drumming, and singing was emphasized as part of African culture.
Participation Summary: Geneva High School performance: 605 students and 88 faculty and staff; Geneva High School Workshop: 41 students and 21 adults; Geneva Head Start performance: 71 students and 21 adults; West Street School performance: 508 students and 83 faculty and staff.
Friday morning October 18, 2013, Ballet X presented a lecture-demonstration performance for all Geneva high school students and staff. The program was led by company choreographer, Matthew Neenan. At Mr. Neenan's request, paper and pencils were passed to students who were asked to write down an emotion and a sentence that explained why the student was feeling that emotion. Mr. Neenan then improvised choreography to match these statements by the students. The student body watched intently as the short routine was pieced together before their eyes. Each piece was climaxed by its performance to a short portion of a recorded music.
After the school-wide performance the entire Ballet X company and Mr. Keenan led a master class for selected students. The session began with teaching a few fundamentals such as the plié and continuous spin. Mr. Keenan did more spontaneous choreographing, this time using the students, with some of the professional dancers assisting.
Participation Summary: 680 students and 95 faculty and staff at the lec-dem; 18 students and 1 adult at the master class.
Later on Monday, March 3 at midday, Hashim's quintet led a workshop/masterclass in the Geneva High School band room for all GHS band members. Hashim had arranged with Steve Palumbo, GHS band director, for the high school jazz ensemble members to perform two selections. The Hashim's quintet played together with the high school players (see below). Hashim commented on the music, complimented the students, and made suggestions about how to improve.Michael Hashim returned to his alma mater to lead a workshop for the Geneva High School Band.
The quintet then played a fast paced impressive jazz tune, with each player improvising a solo. Hashim explained that working hard individually to develop skills such as scales and arpeggios, is necessary to make good improvising possible, but that it can be great fun just getting together to play duets or in larger groups while you are developing as a musician. The experience was inspirational for the students, especially seeing a Geneva High graduate return to the school.
Participation Summary: 510 students and 100 adults at West Street School; 64 students and 5 adults at Geneva High School.
On Thursday evening, March 27, 2014 James Gourlay, River City Brass director, rehearsed with the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Community Brass Ensemble in St. John's Chapel. This ensemble consists of Hobart and William Smith students, faculty Geneva community members. Mr. Gourlay played tuba with the ensemble and then directed the group in their own repertoire and critiqued their playing.
On Friday morning, March 28, 2014 the River City Brass Band consisting of nineteen brass instrument players and two percussionists performed an assembly concert for all Geneva Middle School students and staff in the GMS auditorium. Along with other selections, they performed "Introducing the Band" which featured all of the instrument sections of the band including cornets, French horns, euphoniums, trombones, tubas, and percussion.
Also, the director, James Gourlay demonstrated the principle of making a sound on a brass instrument, by buzzing his lips through a mouthpiece that was attached to a piece of hose, with a funnel on the end. Then joined by two other players, they played a short composition in three-part harmony. He also demonstrated a Swiss Alphorn, to show how it relates to the modern brass instruments. The musical proficiency of all of the band members was super and the performance was educationally inspiring.
Later in the morning, River City Brass performed at the North Street Elementary School for all students and staff. Similar compositions and demonstrations were performed for these students as at the middle school, with an altered in approach geared to the younger students. Ken Foster, the band director at North Street, has many students in the 4th and 5th grades who are learning to play brass and percussion instruments. In his introduction of the assembly, he reminded his students in the audience of the fact that if they practice hard, they too can enjoy the excitement of playing music in an ensemble. And, he asked the third graders, who will be considering studying an instrument next year, to pay close attention to all of the instruments in order to help choose one that appeals to them. This assembly was highly impressive and educationally inspiring.
Participation Summary: Hobart and William Smith Colleges Community Brass Ensemble master class: 13; Geneva Middle School: 500 students and 50 staff; North Street School: 470 students and 30 staff.
On Friday, October 19, 2012, the Oswego Opera Company performed two different mini-operas especially arranged for young children at both Geneva public elementary schools.
In the morning, "Never Tickle a Mule!" which focused on life on the Erie Canal during its construction, took place for all students in grades 3, 4 and 5, and staff in the North Street School Auditorium. The Erie Canal is part of North Street's fourth grade curriculum. The program was designed to reinforce students' understanding of New York State history. The songs in the opera were special arrangements of folk songs about the canal.
In the afternoon, the opera company performed "The Three Little Pigs" for all students (grades K through 2) and staff in the West Street gymnatorium. This program, which followed the details of the classic children's story, featured actual operatic excerpts by Mozart with new lyrics to fit the story. Besides the entertainment value, the educational component of this program emphasized the importance of reading.
Participation Summary. North Street School: 460 students and 50 faculty and staff. West Street School: 527 students and 65 faculty and staff.
On Thursday, February 28, 2012 The Swingle Singers presented Choral Workshops for two Geneva School choruses during the school day, and a third for 63 singers at St. Peter's Arts Academy in the evening. The outreach involved all seven Swingle Singers, with help from their soundman. The two school chorus sessions took place on the stage of the GMS/GHS auditorium.
The Swingle Singers used impressive energy and creativity in working with the student singers. They opened all three of the workshops by performing one of the selections from their show. Using the individual hand-held microphones through the sound system monitored by their soundman allowed all of the subtleties of their voices to be heard. One of the unique features of their arrangements is simulated percussion that one or two of the singers perform while the others sing. The the quality of the arrangements they selected for the students and the singing, harmony, and choreography immediately impressed the students.
After their initial song, the Swingle Singers used several different and effective methods to work on vocal techniques with the students. The first exercise was designed to emphasize the importance of proper breath control. They used a jazz vocal style called scat singing to perform and then teach a version of the famous fast melody from Rossini's William Tell Overture (which you might remember from the opening of the TV program, The Lone Ranger). Repeating the words "Many men, many men..." over and over at the appropriate fast tempo, they sang the tune using just two breaths. After the students mastered this, the Swngles challenged them to try to perform it in one breath.
Other exercises were used to teach vocal percussion, improvisation, and the importance of listening to and following the other singers in your group.
Thursday evening from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, the Swingle Singers presented a choral workshop at St. Peters Church (Geneva). Sixty-three singers from the middle school, high school, and adult choirs of St. Peter's Arts Academy and their director, Wendra Trowbridge, participated in the event. The three selections that the Swingle Singers performed, a pop tune, a piece by Bach in the style of the original Swingle Singers from the 60's, and a beautiful arrangement of Debussy's Claire de Lune demonstrated to all participants their world class reputation for vocal excellence. Exercises similar to those used in the earlier workshops emphasized different vocal techniques.
Participation Summary: 161 students and 24 adults.
On Monday morning, December 12, 2011, Imani Winds presented outreach performances for all of the students and staff at three local public schools: the Geneva Middle School (grades 6 to 8), North Street School (grades 3 to 5), and West Street School (grades K to 2). Imani Winds varied their program at each school ranging from talking about chromatic scales at the Geneva Middle School to having the students echo-sing a song in Spanish at West Street School. At each school, the musicians introduced their instruments and played a selection showing the range of their instrument. They ended each performance with a medley, which had a variety of songs the students recognized. They concluded with time for questions and answers. It was obvious by the students' answers that the music teachers in each building had done an excellent job preparing them for the performance. As the musicians spoke to the students, they showed a sincere attitude of caring for the young people. They had very positive messages about the importance of practicing to achieve success, which results in great enjoyment of performing music.
One student wrote the following about the performance: "The music was amazing, entertaining, and provided great information on how music and different cultures are affected by and relate to one another. I think this is great exposure to different types of music. I learned a lot of different music vocabulary, and again, a lot about music in different cultures."
Participation Summary: Lecture-Demonstration: 1,422 Students, 213 Faculty and Staff.
Thursday morning, March 29, 2012 JUNK presented a lecture/demonstration assembly at Geneva High School for all students and staff. Since the vision of the Company's Artistic Director Brian Sanders is to use "found" objects in developing his dances, Geneva High School was asked to provide five objects for the Company to explore new movement possibilities to show how new movement ideas can be developed on the spot. Sanders used two of the objects supplied by the school: a music stand and an orange parking lot cone. Wearing the parking lot cone as a hat, and standing in front of the music stand, Mr. Sanders proceeded to act as a conductor, silently directing segments of the students in the bleachers, to foot stomp, hand clap, or do vocal sounds, in a rhythm pattern, following his direction.
On Friday morning March 30th at the Smith Opera House, JUNK performed their school-time show, Skink, for all children in the Geneva public schools grades two through five, St. Francis-St. Stephen's grades kindergarten through eight, Children's Hours School pre-school students, and local home-schooled children. Skink was a collection of fast-paced vignettes using ingenious props, costumes, and lighting effects to create worlds of magic and wonder. The brief acts included a polka-dotted lizard (skink) dancing with a giraffe and friends, a madcap ringmaster/conductor, a green inflatable dancer, tap dancers whose shoes were covered with soda bottles (great sound effects), a fish in an aquarium (man dancing in a picture frame), a dancer who appeared to be swimming (very impressive), and a pogo stick dance. All were very inventive!
Participation Summary: GHS Lecture/Demonstration: 665 students, 70 staff. SKINK: 834 children and 132 adults.
On Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm at the Smith Opera House 31 students selected from the Geneva High School Varsity Singers and St. Peter's Community Senior Choir rehearsed with Cantus. Since Cantus is a musician-led performance group (no conductor), they rely on close visual and aural interaction between members to attain the unity required for their unique sound. The group emphasized these skills during the workshop. These new skills were on display later in evening at the start of the second half of Cantus' public performance at the Smith Opera House. The students joined the members of Cantus to sing "In My Life" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Participation Summary: 31 students and 2 adults.
The Koresh Dance Company presented an entertaining and informative lec-dem for all students and staff at Geneva High School. The lec-dem was held in the main gym and was led by the company's artistic director, Ronen Koresh. The program was both engaging and elevated students' movement literacy by teaching them how to watch dance. For example, the company demonstrated how one particular step takes on a new "flavor" in different dance genres. They then showed how a movement phrase comes to fruition and creates a range of possibilities for movement as the expression of an idea, not just entertainment. The highly skilled company members then showed excerpts of repertory work. At the end of the program there was a brief question and answer section that culminated in thunderous applause as two GHS students came down to dance with one of the company members.
The Hip-Hop master class for the Geneva community was held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. It was expertly taught by the company members and was a resounding success. Both adults and local teens attended the class.
Participation Summary: Lecture-Demonstration: 724 Students, 66 Faculty and Staff; Hip-Hop Community Master Class: 28 participants.
On Friday, January 14, 2011, the ten musicians in the Rochester-based Rick Holland/ Evan Dobbin Little Big Band provided three different events in an outreach program at the Geneva Middle School. The Little Big Band includes three players on saxophone, two on trumpet, two on trombone, and a rhythm section consisting of piano, bass, and drums. The musicians are either graduates of, or teach in the jazz program at the Eastman School of Music.
The musicians worked with 22 middle and high school student musicians on a jazz ensemble arrangement of a tune by Count Basie selected by Rick Holland and Nick Moses, the GMS band instructor. Part of this workshop included giving the students the opportunity to improvise. Several students took their turn improvising followed each time by one of the "pros." After the initial rehearsal with all playing together, the musicians moved to separate rooms, where the students received instruction from the professionals on performing and improvising techniques. Following this hour-long workshop, the Little Big Band performed an assembly concert of Swing Jazz for all middle school students. The student musicians performed the piece that they had rehearsed with the Little Big Band, and displayed their improvising skills during the assembly.
Later on Friday evening at the Geneva Middle School/High School Auditorium, the Rick Holland Evan/Dobbins Little Big Band gave a rousing performance for the entire Geneva community. The Band opened the concert with the Count Basie tune in which ten members of the middle and high school bands again performed with them. As Finger Lakes Times reviewer Chuck Agonito wrote: "Each student took a solo that was then modeled by the respective band member. What might have been intimidating was handled well by these students; they each performed their solo well, and it was surely a thrill to play with a band like this one."
The Little Big Band then played tunes from the Big Band era for another 90 minutes with many in the audience getting up to dance to the music. Chuck Agonito's very favorable review of the performance is appended to this document.
Participation Summary: Workshop: 22 student musicians and 14 adults; Assembly Performance: 468 Middle School students, 20 High School Jazz Band Members, 70 Faculty and Staff; Evening Community Concert: 10 student musicians, 292 general audience.