by Mike Telin
While the pandemic is still causing major disruptions in our nation’s educational system, there are countless stories of how teachers, students, and parents have come together and met their unique challenges head-on.
Programs that have faced extreme obstacles are the junior high, high school, and city youth orchestras — how do you keep students engaged in performance-focused programs when their reasons for existing have been put on hold?
During the recently completed academic year, the Lakewood High School Orchestra program and the Cavani String Quartet partnered for the inspired, interdisciplinary Visiting Artist Project. Using chamber music — Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8 and Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Kompa Variations — as a catalyst for expression and team-building, the Project also provided an opportunity to talk in general about the impact of the pandemic on high school age students. Although an in-person performance was not a certainty for the duration of the project, ultimately one did take place in front of a live audience in April.
During a Zoom conversation in the fall, Lakewood High School orchestra director Dr. Elizabeth Hankins explained that the gestation of the project began when the Ohio Music Education Association asked the Lakewood music teachers to create a plan for learning during the pandemic. One person Hankins turned to for advice was Annie Fullard of the Cavani String Quartet. [Read more…]