One Score One Chicago 2013

Public School Students Experience Verdi's Aida

one score kidsRavinia’s One Score, One Chicago introduces thousands of public school students to classical music through the study of a selected work each year. This year’s selection, Giuseppe Verdi’s grand opera epic, Aida, was explored by children in hundreds of classrooms throughout the Chicago area through live performances, school residencies and teacher workshops.

Over 100 Chicago Public School teachers attended workshops on Aida during Ravinia’s Professional Development Institute in August 2012. The festival’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs made a special collaboration with the South Shore Opera company. Members of the company, under the artistic direction of Cornelius Johnson, performed arias and duets from Aida for participating teachers in Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall. Additional workshops were led by Northwestern University music education professor Dr. Janet Barrett.

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One Score, One Chicago was again the centerpiece for Ravinia’s Guest Artists in the Classroom, an initiative designed to bring live performances into schools. Students from 25 elementary schools in Chicago, Waukegan and Highland Park enjoyed live performances from the South Shore Opera Company, Opera for Kids, and other local musicians who performed selections from Aida and other opera favorites. On Thursday, May 23, over 2,500 students from Chicago and Waukegan who received in-school performances of Aida came to Ravinia for a concert performance of the work. Soloists from South Shore Opera company performed selections from Aida, accompanied by the renowned Midwest Young Artists youth orchestra under the direction of Dr. Allan Dennis. As part of the concert, students from Learn-Excel Charter School and Gale Elementary performed original songs, which they composed with their Ravinia teaching artist and CPS classroom teachers by borrowing the melody from the aria “Celeste Aida.”

String orchestra students from the three Highland Park middle schools performed Aida’s Triumphal March along with other opera hits in Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall on April 12. As part of their residencies, each school received a visit from members of the Chicago Arts Orchestra who coached the students in sectional rehearsals. Students also had the opportunity to work and perform with the orchestra’s music director, Javier Mendoza.

Finally students in Chicago Public Schools (Gale, Learn-Excel, Beasley and Murphy) participating in Ravinia’s Music Discovery program embarked on an exploration of Aida during their residencies. They learned about Verdi, the story of Aida, and specific musical motifs found in the opera. In addition to creating their own compositions to selections from the work such as “Celeste Aida,” students incorporated creative movement to the opera’s renowned Triumphal March during their school performances in April and May—rounding out their year-long exploration of Aida.

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