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 and curriculum building community. On this page, you will find more information about the Civic Ensemble visits to schools through student reflections. To learn more about this program on Sounds & Stories, please click here.

During the week of January 12, the Civic Orchestra Fellows visited all five CSO-Connect schools to perform excerpts of Tchaikovsky’s and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, arranged for them by Civic Orchestra Principal Conductor Cliff Colnot. These visits were mutually beneficial for both the Fellows and the students. For the students, the performances were an opportunity to hear this music live, as well as an opportunity to for them to understand and connect the role of the musician to the music. The Fellows enjoyed exploring with the students the choices and consequences the composers made when writing this classic repertoire, as well as connecting students to music through a timeless work of literature, Romeo and Juliet. To learn more about the Fellows’ experience, read this article by Jessica Wolfe.

Agassiz IMG_0767The following are reflections from students about these performances:

“My favorite part of the [Civic] Fellows’ performance was listening to the viola player because he thoroughly explained the mood of the piece they played. I also liked how they all showed mood change through the way they played their instruments. I loved how the tempo changed the music’s mood when they played the balcony piece.

“This visit makes me want to learn more about the work and life of Tchaikovsky and Shakespeare and other musical pieces created to accompany Shakespeare’s works, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” – Lily, Disney Magnet School

“I loved this performance because it felt much more real than on TV because I could hear and feel the vibration of the music in my chair.” – Ronel, Swift Elementary School

“I liked how the music sounded performed together. It was very interesting. I mostly enjoyed listening to the violin because I’ve played the violin and could relate to it and how it sounded.” – Destiny, Edwards Elementary School

“What I liked most about the performance is that the musicians played many different types of instruments and were able to communicate non-verbally with each other as they played their music.” –Killeni, Edwards Elementary School

“This performance was great! I liked how the violin and the percussion made the music sound like a sword fight. The dynamics of the crashing symbols made an awesome sound. Thanks for coming to our school!” – May, Swift Elementary School

“My favorite part about the Civic Fellows visit was when they compared the musical styles of the two Russian composers. It was interesting to hear the way that composers can write music using the same idea, but make it sound unique to them. It’s cool to know that you can play classical music in different ways.” – Bianca, Disney Magnet School