Posts Tagged ‘Odeon’

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Who Are They?: Bay Chambers, Part 2

February 4, 2015

Odeon

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director and you can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/. This post was written by Monica about their program called Odeon.

Marti Stone photo

Marti Stone photo

I don’t really know how it happened. I am not a strings player. My children weren’t either. But somehow I managed to found Odeon, a community string orchestra in 2000 in mid-coast Maine.

I had been involved with Bay Chamber Concerts for four years as a trustee and kept hearing about the concerns that there were no string ensemble programs in our area and the Next Generation program, a summer camp for Maine youth interested in playing chamber music together, was struggling to find participants. At the same time, my three young boys were attending the Riley School, an arts-focused K-9 school in Rockport and I was chair of the parent committee. The then director, Glenna Plaisted, a true visionary educator, said to me that she thought we should start an orchestra at Riley. Well, the truth was that the school didn’t have enough students to make that happen, so I convinced her to partner with me in writing a grant to the MBNA Foundation, which at that time was funding a lot of arts education programs in our community. Low and behold we were awarded a small sum which we used to hire our first conductor, the amazing Augusto Salazar. Not only was he an amazing musician, he was willing to drive to Rockport each week from Kittery because he believed so much in what we were doing.

Marti Stone photo

Marti Stone photo

So on a cold January night in 2000, eight children, ages 8-18 showed up to audition for the Odeon Ensemble. We had three quite advanced students, and a handful of intermediate and beginning ones to boot. Kindly a couple of the parents who played stringed instruments agreed to sit in and help out. At the debut concert held that spring, the first work on the program was called “Warm-up – the scale in G major”!!!

Quickly the program began to grow and within 5 years we were up to 40 members in three ensembles. Some of the students at that time were quite advanced and we experienced some glorious moments of music before they all graduated and went off to schools like Oberlin, Wellesley, and Tufts. And then, in 2006 we were invited to merge with Bay Chamber Concerts.

Throughout the years Odeon has evolved and the groupings have changed. Our latest configuration is as follows: Allegro, for beginning young string musicians; Symphony, for intermediate youth in strings, winds, brass and piano; and the Adult Ensemble. We perform at least two formal concerts per year and seek opportunities to play in assisted living facilities, schools, etc. We even did a flash mob in Hannaford’s and Reny’s one year!

It has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life to foster this program and see it evolve, grow and adapt to the people who make it happen. I am grateful to the musicians who have led Odeon over the years: Augusto Salazar, Gilda Joffe, Marshunda Smith, Deirdre McClure, Nate Martin and new to this spring, Sarah Glenn, for their contributions in building a community orchestra for mid-coast Maine. And I cannot write a complete story of Odeon’s history without mentioning two supporters from the board of Bay Chamber who have given their hearts and souls to the ensembles because of their belief in the value of being music makers; Eleanor Poe Barlow and Caroline E. Seamans.

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Who Are They?: Bay Chambers, Part 1

January 28, 2015

Offering arts experiences for learners of all ages

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director and you can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.13 PMI was invited to join the Board of Trustees. At that time I had three young children who I was very determined to introduce to music, especially classical music. My childhood was spent surrounded by the arts as my mother was born in Rome, Italy and my father, Dublin, Ireland. Both of my parents were devoted art and music lovers and came from a heritage rich in cultural opportunities. I wanted the same for my children and Bay Chamber was an organization where I saw great integrity and great potential.

I immediately got involved in the education arm at Bay Chamber which, at that time, had a focus on a summer music camp called Next Generation for Maine students who had an interest in playing chamber music together. Along with this intensive program, Bay Chamber offered student matinee performances featuring musicians, dancers and artists that were part of their off-season concert series and a prize program called Young Stars of Maine.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.04 PMLearning about the musical opportunities for children in our community brought me to found a youth orchestra in 2000, independently of Bay Chamber, called Odeon. We started with a very modest group of 8 students of all ages and abilities and grew to over 40 by 2006 when we were invited to merge with Bay Chamber Concerts.

Through that merger, I joined the staff of Bay Chamber as Director of Education. Along with some very passionate board members, we began the long process of forming a music school and in 2011 the Bay Chamber Music School was born. As we were seeing school budgets for the arts cut dramatically in our area, our intention was always to supplement what the schools could do, focusing on private lessons, strings ensembles, and group classes for the very young. We recruited a faculty of professional musicians who have advanced degrees in their instrument and perform regularly in the concert hall. Through the generosity of our donors, we are able to offer a financial aid program that allows us to offer up to 75% of tuition to those who qualify. One of the important ways we try to distinguish ourselves as a music school is by offering many ways for student musicians of all ages to connect with each other and make music together in ensembles.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.22 PMToday our music school sees an average of over 300 enrollments per year and reaches many, many more through our student matinee and community engagement programming. We have partnered with Carnegie Hall and the Passages program of Wayfinder Schools to offer the Lullaby Project, a song writing workshop for teen parents. This spring we are partnering with the Camden Conference to put on a series of Odeon concerts related to their theme, Russia Resurgent.

As the Music School continues to grow and thrive we are always looking for ways to partner with schools to work together to bring live music into the hearts and minds of as many young people as possible. On March 27th at 9:30am at the Camden Opera House, we are offering a free matinee to middle schoolers featuring the a cappella group Overboard. As I write there are still some spots available, so if you would like more information on hearing this dynamic and vibrant in action please contact me at monica@baychamberconcerts.org.

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