News Column

Wolf Trap Awards Six $2,500 Grants to Regional High School Teachers in Recognition of Exceptional Achievements in Performing Arts Education

May 13, 2014



VIENNA, Va., May 13 -- The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts issued the following news release:

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts honors the outstanding work of six high school performing arts teachers with grants of $2,500, as part of the organization's annual Wolf Trap Grants for High School Performing Arts Teachers. Designed to enhance curriculum and enrich classroom learning, these grants recognize the instruction and performance achievements of public high school teachers within music, dance, and theatre disciplines throughout Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun Counties in Virginia; Prince George's and Montgomery Counties in Maryland; and the District of Columbia. Wolf Trap has awarded 2013-2014 grants to Michelle Roberts of Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, MD), Anthony Townes of Northwestern High School (Hyattsville, MD), Kenneth Dickerson of Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School (Washington, DC), Elizabeth Reed of Lake Braddock Secondary School (Burke, VA), Brian Bersh of Yorktown High School (Arlington, VA), and John Wells of Loudoun County High School (Leesburg, VA). These funds allow each teacher to explore projects that enrich their curriculum and connect to their students through the creation of new works and initiatives, culminating with final student performances.

"Wolf Trap is very proud to honor this select group of accomplished performing arts educators," says Akua Kouyate-Tate, Wolf Trap's Senior Director, Education. "The projects presented by each award recipient demonstrate their deep commitment to engaging students in substantive arts learning experiences that develop their students' ability to create meaningful high-quality performing arts expressions. They also build other very necessary life skills such as creative thinking, collaboration, and compassion."

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Michelle Roberts

Montgomery Blair High School

Montgomery Blair High School'sSymphonic Orchestra will learn and perform an orchestral composition from world-renowned composer Paul Lewis. Lewis, who lives in the United Kingdom, will travel to the United States to work directly with the Symphonic Orchestra students in the classroom, conduct a master class for music teachers and students, and hold an ethnomusicology lecture and cabaret performance for the student body and other interested individuals who might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet a distinguished living composer. In spring 2014, the culmination of the project will be the world premiere of Lewis's new composition, when he conducts the Montgomery Blair High School Symphonic Orchestra in a free, public concert at the high school's auditorium.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY

Anthony Townes

Northwestern High School

Eighty-five students in Northwestern High School's VPA Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Concert Band will participate in master classes led by professional musicians. These classes will prepare the students for multiple performances that coincide with county and state adjudications and college auditions. Artists-in-residence Alvin Fitzgerald Trask and Craig Alston will provide individualized instruction that will allow students to not only achieve mastery in more complex works of music, but also will not only provide the opportunity for them to receive first-hand experience in creating meaningful music and interacting with professional musicians who would otherwise be inaccessible. The culminating activity will be a performance for the Hyattsville Arts District and community, along with the surrounding middle and elementary schools in the Northwestern cluster.

WASHINGTON, DC

Kenneth Dickerson

Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School

Demonstrating how music can be a bridge to cross-cultural understanding, 65 students from 16 percussion classes will participate in the study of drumming and samba music with Brazilian composer Alejandro Lucini. Lucini will be an artist-in-residence for 15 weeks, providing percussion instruction and kinesthetic teaching by combining the rhythms of the urban cities of America and culture of Brazil. Each master class will incorporate samba percussion patterns into themes of integrated lessons, small projects, group work, and individual work. Also, as a means to broaden the global understanding of all educators and students involved in the project, Theodore Roosevelt students will share what they have learned via Skype with students from two partnering samba schools in Brazil. At the end of the project, a final performance will be held in May2014 to showcase the student's musical development.

FAIRFAX COUNTY

Elizabeth Reed

Lake Braddock Secondary School

In order to better serve the student body and community, Lake Braddock High School Orchestra will serve 10 hours of community service and perform throughout the local community as part of a school-wide initiative, The Service Learning Project. Some of the community venues and events include Got Music Day, Listen To Our Voices: Anti-Bullying/Youth Violence Benefit, and the Symphony Burke Tour. To further the use of technology in the arts and promote a "greener" environment, Lake Braddock Orchestra will also purchase iPads, music stands, and pedal page turners for use at performances in the community. These devices will help students share music easily in a performance setting, while also helping the environment. At the final concert, all three high school orchestras, including Concert Orchestra, String Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra, will perform their music collection. It will be paired with a slideshow presentation of their service learning projects and the new technology used throughout the year.

ARLINGTON COUNTY

Brian Bersh

Yorktown High School

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Yorktown Symphonic band will learn a commissioned piece by composer Bryce Owen. In remembrance of the seven crew members who perished during re-entry, including Yorktown High School alumnus, U.S. Navy Captain, and NASA Astronaut David Brown. The Symphonic Band, which consists of two classes of students, will participate in the creative process of composition, which will give them meaningful and impactful experiences with a living composer. The commissioned piece for brass quintet and band will be performed in May 2014 during the Yorktown Band's Spring Concert in collaboration with the U.S. Army Brass Quintet.

LOUDOUN COUNTY

John Wells

Loudoun County High School

Loudoun County High School's Theatre Arts Class III and IV will learn the history, creation, and development of character through mask performance. Artist-in-residence Rachel Hynes--who specializes in masks, movement, and creating theatre using masks--will guide students in writing, movement, and the evolution of a performance piece generated through the mask experience. The culminating project took place in April 2014, when the students will produce a one-act original theatrical performance piece to showcase their playwriting skills and performance development.

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