The Scroll: Updates from the String Department

February 27th, 2019 in Blog, Event/News with NO COMMENTS

Community Music Center of Boston’s String Department Newsletter

February 25, 2019

Fiddle Tunes and Music by Florence Price at Fiddlefest!

The string department hosted its annual Fiddlefest! on February 9th, which was thematically centered on folks songs arranged by Florence Price.  The event featured selected student ensembles as well as the the acclaimed chamber group Castle of Our Skins, whose appearance at Fiddlefest! was sponsored through a partnership between CMCB and the Celebrity Series of Boston.  Castle of Our Skins is an organization whose mission is dedicated to exploring Black artistry through music. The performers – Gabriela Diaz, violin, Mina Lacheva, violin, Ashleigh Gordon, viola and Francesca McNeely, cello – had some wonderful feedback for the students.  The group also gave an inspiring performance of two works by Florence Price: “Shortening Bread” from Five Folk Songs in Counterpoint and the Andante moderato movement from her String Quartet in G Major.

The participating student ensembles were the Junior String Ensemble, led by Lisa Sailer, and the  Intermediate String Ensemble, led by Karl Orvik.  JSE performed a traditional arrangement of Shortening Bread and ISE performed a lengthier “blues” version.  After hearing the third version of Shortening Bread in counterpoint performed by the Castle of Our Skins players, many students commented that they enjoyed hearing “how the same song could sound so different!”

In addition, the ISP string quartet (Quartet-a-tete) performed an excerpt from Florence Price’s O Clementine and the event closed with a rousing collaborative performance of Castle of Our Skins and students performing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.  To cap it all off, there was a cookie reception, enhanced in no small way by Lisa Sailer’s own homemade cookies!

Special thanks to Ann Miklich for organizing the event and coordinating all the logistics between the Castle of Our Skins performers, Celebrity Series of Boston, and CMCB!

Evaluation Week: March 4 – March 9

The annual week of school-wide student evaluations begins on March 4th.  For those who are new to CMCB, or for those who have forgotten some or all of the details of Evaluation Week, here is a brief description of what will transpire:  During this week, each student’s lesson will be replaced by an “evaluation,” which will occur approximately at the same time as the student’s normal lesson time.  In the evaluation, students will play individually in front of 2-4 friendly faculty members, who will write comments on the repertoire that the student played.  The repertoire has been pre-selected by the students’ teachers, and includes scales, etudes, pieces and sightreading. The comments made by the teachers will be distributed to the students in their subsequent private lessons within a few weeks and if parents would like an extra copy of the comments  they will be mailed upon request. Each string evaluation is approximately 10-20 minutes in length, and they will all be held in Room 11. The final schedule with every student’s exact time is currently in progress and will be posted at CMCB early in the week of February 25th.

If you have any questions about any part of the Evaluation Week process please contact Ann Miklich (miklich@cmcb.org) or Karl Orvik (orvik@cmcb.org).

Student Chamber Music Recital Showcases Works from Telemann to Beethoven

The string department held its Semester 1 chamber music recital in Allen Hall on January 26th.  It featured several different types of chamber groups, including a string trio and a string quartet. We were also fortunate to have another string instrument represented: the piano!  The program began with a Schubert piano duo, then two Telemann Minuets for string trio, followed by two movements from the Haydn “Gypsy” trio (for piano trio).

The program closed with the ISP string quartet, “Quartet-a-tete” performing the first movement of Beethoven’s op. 18, no. 3.  The coaches were all in attendance to introduce and support their groups: Alexander Morollo from the piano department, Ben Swartz, Ann Miklich, and Karl Orvik. Bravo to all! We are already looking forward to the Semester 2 chamber music recital happening in June 2019!

Teacher Tips: The Importance of Workshops and Recitals

In what will be a regular feature of The Scroll, the string department faculty would like use this space to offer brief tidbits of advice on a variety of subjects that come up during the year.  For this edition, we wanted to highlight the wealth of opportunities for student performance that exist at CMCB; in particular, the importance of taking advantage of the many student workshops and recitals that are offered here.

In addition to Performathon, Evaluation Week, Ensembles concerts and individual studio recitals, CMCB offers twice-weekly student workshops throughout the year as well as student recitals that can happen as often as three times in a month.  The workshops are a great way to help students prepare for upcoming performances.  They are held in Allen Hall and led by a CMCB faculty member who gives brief and valuable feedback to each student performer.  In addition to comments about the repertoire being played, the workshop teachers place a strong emphasis on instilling proper comportment before, during, and after a performance, with special attention given to bowing afterwards!  These etiquette considerations are not only relevant in other performance settings but can also be helpful in non-musical settings as well, such as school presentations or other public speaking situations. Another feature of CMCB workshops is that all non-piano performers have the opportunity to play their pieces with a piano accompanist, which even further prepares the student for his/her eventual public performance.  The audience is a healthy mix of fellow students, faculty, and parents. Workshops typically take place on Saturdays at 2:00PM and Thursdays at 6:30PM.

CMCB recitals represent the culmination of a student’s preparation of a particular piece.  All the work that has been invested in individual practicing, private lessons, rehearsals and workshops is given to reality in a performance!  Although recitals in and of themselves are part of a learning process, they also carry an aspect of closure, and can be incredibly rewarding and empowering experiences for all of us.  Recitals at CMCB typically occur on Saturdays at 2:00PM and Thursdays at 6:30PM.  Looking forward to seeing many of you at the next workshop or recital!

Events Calendar, February 25 – April 27

March 2: Student Recital (Allen Hall), 2 PM
March 4-9:  Evaluation Week
March 14: Adult Workshop (Allen Hall), 6:30 PM
March 16: Student Workshop (Allen Hall), 2 PM
March 16: Student Ensembles Concert (Roland Hayes), 7 PM
March 21: Student Recital (Allen Hall), 6:30 PM
March 23: Student Workshop (Allen Hall), 2 PM
March 23:  Student Recital (Allen Hall), 2 PM
April 4:  Lapin Competition Preliminaries (Allen Hall), 5:30 PM
April 6: Lapin Competition Finals (Allen Hall), 12:30 PM
April 11:  Castle of Our Skins concert “Legacy” (Allen Hall), 7 PM
April 13: Student Workshop (Allen Hall), 2 PM
April 15-20:  CMCB CLOSED for April Vacation
April 25: Student Workshop, 6:30 PM
April 27: Student Workshop, 2 PM

Around the Corner…

STUDENT EVALUATION WEEK, March 4-9:  Be sure to check the schedule posted on our Student Information Board to see your exact evaluation time!

Ensembles Concert, March 16th:  The concert is at Roland Hayes, as are the afternoon dress rehearsals for Chamber Orchestra and Intermediate String Ensemble.  Be sure to check with your ensemble directors for more information or if you have any questions.

Lapin Competition:  Preliminary auditions are held on April 4th, which will be here sooner than we all realize!  If you are planning to participate, make sure you have everything coordinated with your teacher and keep up the practicing!


Leave a Reply