Composers-in-residence-in-the-schools: World Premieres at Syracuse Schools

Henninger HS June 2
Dr. Weeks Elementary June 16

The Society for New Music’s composers-in-residence-in-the-schools projects are coming to a close with world premiere performances by the student ensembles at Henninger High School June 2, 7pm, and at Dr. Weeks K-6 school June 16,6:00 pm. This is the 28th season of this program, named for SNM board member Billie Burdick, whose idea it was, and who shepherded this program for many years in the public schools in Syracuse. A former school teacher, the late Mrs. Burdick felt students needed to learn how music was created, the way they learn how to write poetry and create art.

Syracuse City School District to receive $3,251,426Composer Richard Fields has been working with Music Teacher/Choral Conductor Andrea Akins and her Chorus at Henninger High School. The work is titled “Reflections” and sets quotations by Henninger High School Chorus members, their personal reflections on peace. In the best tradition of Billie Burdick, Fields guided the students in a group writing activity which focused on what peace means to them. The activity produced powerful prose which possess a worldly wisdom that transcended Fields’ expectation. This led Fields to create a three-movement composition as follows:

Society for New Music

Society for New Music’s composers-in-residence-in-the-schools projects

The first movement is meditative (Meditation) and begins with the spoken mantras “Walk in peace”– “Live in peace”– along with different peace greetings which represent the diversity of the Henninger High School community.

“The movement was inspired by the tremendous musicality of the bass player Davon Jackson, trumpet Nick Tarrats, and saxophone Alex Moore. The students are members of the Henninger Jazz Band lead by Band Director Rory Edwards. They accompany speaker Nicholas Magari who leads the audience in the mantra and recites the poem by Fields, “Has Peace Lost It’s Luster.”

The second movement (Reflection) is the setting of student texts as follows:

Only peace can bring the world together;
Peace is achieved when everything in you is balanced.
Peace cannot be kept unless everyone stops the violence.

Peace is what many strive for, yet few achieve.
War gives us strength, when will we find our peace.
No man can get internal peace by war.

Peace saves lives.

We have to resolve our problems to find peace.
In peace can be found a shared struggle.
It’s a choice to be at peace. Peace comes on its own.

Peace is more of an internal thing.
Peace is achievable, you just have to love yourself first.
You can never achieve peace when you worry ’bout little things.
Peace is understanding, and respecting others.
Peace is relaxation.

Peace is the way to everlasting happiness.

Peace, even as the most beautiful apple can be filled with worms.

Everything’s okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

The third movement (Conclusion) Dona nobis pacem

Tyler Ogilvie, the composer at Dr. Weeks Elementary, has crafted a 4-movement work in collaboration with the 5th grade students and their music teacher, Mary Jumen. The text is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells”, since bells play an integral part in community and celebration throughout the world: past and present. Poe’s interpretation of bells is especially pertinent to us, in that he wrote the poem while living in NY ca. 1845, near what is now the neighborhood surrounding Fordham University in the Bronx. Mr. Ogilvie has created videos which will serve to integrate the ethnic/cultural backgrounds that make up Dr. Week’s student population. The music and videos illustrate the significance of bells as it relates to their backgrounds.

In addition to piano accompaniment, the students will accompany their singing with Orff instruments, especially Orff bells, but will also include bells from other cultures: a Burma Bell, known as a ”kyeezee”, a Nepalese bell known as a “Dorje”, and possibly iron bells and vintage electric siren.

“The Bells: by Tyler Ogilvie and the 5th Grade Students at Dr. Weeks Elementary, Syracuse, NY (Lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe)

I.Silver Bells (The Spinning Kyeezee) – 2:15 min
II.Golden Bells (Pachelbel’;s Wedding Bells) – 2:00 min
III.Brazen Bells (Subtitle TBD) 1 :40 min
IV.Iron Bells (Repique de las campanas en la noche del Dia de Muertos … )

The Society for New Music’s Composers in the Schools program is funded in part by NYSCA AIE grants, with the support of Gov. Cuomo & the NYS Legislature, plus funding from the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation (Elementary School only), John Ben Snow Foundation, Copland Fund, NYSCA, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Reisman Foundation, Amphion Foundation, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Syracuse Sounds of Music Assoc., Inc., County of Onondaga, administered by CNY Arts, Richard Mather Foundation & private donations.