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 Connect culminating event. To learn more about the curriculum program on Sounds & Stories, please click here.
On Thursday, April 14, 265 students and teachers from the five CSO-Connect partner schools came together at Disney Magnet School to celebrate the deep and meaningful interdisciplinary projects that were created using the Choices and Consequences theme, inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and multiple musical interpretations of the text.
The day began with a performance by Jackalope Theatre Company, based in the Edgewater neighborhood, which featured three different interpretations of one scene from Romeo and Juliet. This allowed students to see how the choices the actors made transformed it and made it relevant and alive for them. Jackalope Theatre has also partnered with Swift Elementary School this season, enhancing their CSO-Connect project focusing on rewriting a scene from Romeo and Juliet. Choosing to use Jackalope Theatre Company at this event brought to life the story and big ideasthat students and teachers have explored all year through the Connect program. This epilogue from their play really captured the theme of the Connect program and the relevance of Shakespeare 400 years after his death.
“These stories are important to us because they are the poetic retellings of this wild and crazy experience of humanity! In all its love, splendor, heartbreak, and tragedy, when we move past the barriers of language, we find characters that are so much like ourselves.”
After the performance, students broke into groups and rotated through 10 stations showcasing incredibly diverse and in-depth explorations of the big idea Choices and Consequences. At the Agassiz School stations, students displayed their Romeo and Juliet stop motion animation movies and the artifacts they used to make each film. Clinton School students discussed their “Moment of Choice” artwork and performed spoken word poetry with musical accompaniment. Disney Magnet students presented artwork that used symbolism to represent characters from Romeo and Juliet; they also played recordings of original musical compositions that used different elements to express various scenes from the play. Edwards School displayed artwork based on Romeo and Juliet character analyses and performed spoken word poetry accompanied by original guitar compositions. Swift students exhibited videos that featured rewritten Romeo and Juliet scenes which included original musical compositions, as well as displaying art work, Shakespearean “dictionaries,” and character analysis books.
After rotating through all stations, students convened again to wrap up the day. One student from each school came to the stage to share reflections and questions about the work they had observed that morning. One girl summed up the day perfectly with her final comment:
“I thought it was amazing that we could all be together in the same room to share our projects. Every school did amazing work!”