Chamber Music Festival brings Musician in Residence to Orcas schools

  • Thu Mar 27th, 2008 7:34pm
  • News

Chamber Music Festival brings

Musician-in-Residence to Orcas

The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (OICMF) announces Spring 2008 IM: In Music Musician-in-Residence for Orcas Public School during the week of March 24-27.

In its second season of IM: In Music community outreach, OICMF will host Monique Mead as its visiting artist. IM: In Music is funded through the generous sponsorship of Mimi and Slim Sommerville.

Mead will work with the music students of Lorena Stankevich and Pamela Wright of the elementary school music program and Lizz Hanks, high school and middle school music teacher, all of the Orcas Island School District. In a separate offering, a Master Class for community soloists and ensembles will also be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 26.

Born and educated in the United States, in 1990 Mead was awarded a Fulbright Scholoarship to study violin performance in Lubeck Germnay. After working with Leonard Bernstein at music festivals, she decided to focus her career on nurturing young audiences. Mead is the mother of two young children, and lives in Pittsburg, Penn.. She is married to violinist Andres Cardenes, and the couple, with their children, are familiar faces during the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festivals, and will participate in the up-coming August 18-31, 2008 annual Festival.

During the 2007 Chamber Music Festival season, Mead presented the “Children’s Concert: Strings ‘n’ Things,” where participants from Camp Orkila’s day camp, Children’s House and Kaleidoscope joined others to “play” musical instruments created from giant rubber bands, shoe boxes, tin cans and plastic cups.

Mead has become one of the country’s most celebrated presenters of youth and family concerts. She is also a violin soloist, playing with many orchestras throughout Germany.

One of her tours, in affiliation with the 2006 Soccer World Cup highlighted her program, “Fussball [Football] a Tempo,” which featured the soccer star Olaf Thon, and which was released on CD.

Mead has developed the popular “Klassik for Kids” programs. Mead’s website, www.moniquemead.com explains that each program is built around a theme of particular interest to young people. These include soccer, cell phones, cars, or cakes. Audience participation plays a key role in the concert experience. For example, cars as “Daddy’s favorite toy” and many a child’s object of wonder takes center stage in a program about cars and music. Through such themes, she teaches children about ensemble, rhythm, tuning, and tempo. A fine-tuned engine is a great metaphor for rhythmic patterns working in harmony. This is demonstrated with all the “moving parts” of the orchestra, as the children learn to hear which parts are out of sync or need further tuning.

What is it like to be a blinker, one of 12 cylinders, or a set of windshield wipers and have to keep a steady rhythm? The audience tries it with various “rhythmic ostinati”, or repeating rhythms.

They are then given a crash course in musical driver’s ed, learning to “drive” that fine-tuned musical machine called an orchestra. Those who pass the exam are invited on stage for a test drive, where they use the baton to step on the accelerator or squeeze the brake pedal.

A speedometer to a car is equivalent to a metronome for music. At this point, it’s time to say, “fiddles, step on it!” The audience will be amazed just how fast those instruments can go!

Along the way, the children are introduced to works by Vivaldi, Grieg, Mozart, Kreisler, Haus and Kabalewski.

“Nothing motivates children for a life-time music experience like a visit from a professional musician at their school,” comments Victoria Parker, Executive Director of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival. “When musicians perform for the class, talk about their instruments, and answer questions, a lasting and inspirational connection is made.”

Mead will also offer a Master Class for adult musicians in the community with the topic focus on “Making Practice Count: Suggestions for Progress” and “Musical Connections: Performer and Audience.” The Master Class will take place March 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact information: 360.376.6636 and www.oicmf.org