Last week we got to visit Chicago for a few days. Immediately after dropping off our bags at the hotel, we walked over to Millenium Park and had a delightful afternoon, happening on to an open rehearsal by the Grant Park Orchestra for their concert the following night of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony. [an added bonus, with his new iPhone, my husband downloaded the program notes as we sat down!]
The Grant Park Music Festival dates back to the 1930s and is a 10-week season of free classical concerts. And Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavillion is a gorgeous venue. Tourists and community members alike were out at lunch to enjoy the park, the people, and the music. As I watched, I realized this orchestra included something like a 20- or 30-year age span in its membership and I think that’s something we need to think about in Chatham County.
As an arts ed advocate, I spend a good deal of time talking about the benefits of the arts for students—a vehicle for project-based learning; the research about arts study and its effect on other disciplines and lowering of school dropout rates; using the arts to study math, physics, language, history, culture; how the arts promote teamwork, collaboration, and creative problem-solving, etc. One of the other great benefits I have experienced first-hand is the opportunity it provides to work together across age spans. Orchestras, bands, choral, dance and drama groups can bring together students, teachers, professionals, and amateurs to create wonderful, educational, enlightening and entertaining experiences.
We provide many group arts experiences for students in our schools—school bands, guitar ensembles, dance ensembles, acting company. The community has groups like Sisters Voices, Fearrington’s Villlage Voices and Harmony Grits. I’m sure many churches have choirs with members across an age span. But I’m not aware of groups like Little Theatre (perhaps CCCC productions involve community members beyond students?), or community bands, or choral societies.
Do you know of groups like this in Chatham County?
Maybe this kind of activity could start small with individual projects or groups combining for a specific event—a holiday concert or 4th of July performance.
The arts are also about building bridges, increasing understanding, and making connections. We might not need to look far beyond our own back yard.