In the fall of 2015, the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra launched two exciting new partnership programs for Chicago Public Schools: an in-school residency program and a teacher professional development community. On this page, you will find more information about student musical experiences. To learn more about the residency program on Sounds & Stories, please click here.

As part of the residency program, the two CPS elementary schools participating during the 2015/16 season hosted several in- and out-of-school performances featuring CSO and Civic Orchestra musicians.

Each school received two performances by CSO chamber ensembles, continuing a long standing tradition of CSO musicians performing for Chicago Public Schools students. Ensembles presented two 45-minute educational programs, exploring different styles of music and other musical concepts the students learned throughout the residency. The first ensemble, Mallarme String Quartet—including Rong-Yan Tan and Melanie Kupchynsky, violins; Max Raimi, viola; and Loren Brown, cello—visited Sawyer Elementary School in late-February. Pickard Elementary was visited in late-June by Bopland Ensemble—including Baird Dodge and Hermine Gagné, violins; Wei-Ting Kuo, viola; Loren Brown, cello; Brad Opland, bass; and Charlie Johnson, piano. These performances were a highlight of the program for the students.

“It was a great experience for all of us. The students loved hearing the different instruments and the particular sounds they made.” – 3rd Grade Teacher, Sawyer Elementary

Pickard and Sawyer also received visits by Civic Orchestra chamber ensembles. The ensembles created a short, 20-minute introductory program that would allow them to engage with the students inside the classroom, as well as a 45-minute concert program, modeled after the format used by CSO musicians. Each of the two visits built on the teaching artists’ instruction, focusing on the fundamental musical skills that the students were learning, such as dynamics, tempo, and melody.

At Sawyer Elementary, presentations made by the Civic String Quartet and Civic Brass Quintet focused on the curricular theme of world cultures, tying it in to the CSO’s season-long focus on “Celebrations.”

The Civic String Quintet visited Pickard Elementary, and focused their program on the narrative qualities of orchestral music through Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Each school was also provided tickets and transportation to see a CSO School Concert at Symphony Center. 220 students and teachers from Sawyer Elementary attended Surprise Party, a concert celebrating the CSO’s 125th Anniversary. Pickard Elementary brought 150 students and teachers to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which featured actors from Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

“Our students loved going to the concert at the CSO. It was the icing on the cake for them to hear the music they had been studying with Mr. Mike [the CSO teaching artist] in class and to see the actors performing scenes they had learned.” – 4th Grade Teacher, Pickard Elementary