MENC Brings a Broad Range of Music to the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage For Music Education Week in Washington

The Millennium Stage performances drew crowds.

MENC’s Music Education Week in Washington shined a spotlight on all aspects of music education, from advocacy for school music programs to academies offering enrichment opportunities for teachers. At the heart of it all were performances of all types, from students and professionals alike, in Washington, DC and the surrounding area.

For three days during Music Education Week, MENC presented a broad slate of performances on the Millennium Stage at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington

Among MENC’s Kennedy Center performers were an African drumming group
from Wilbur L. Cross Middle School in Bridgeport, CT. The teacher is
Frances C. Russell.

On June 18, MENC presented a program called “Students From Around America,” with performances ranging from a choral group to an African Drumming performance to a Dixieland band.

Willie Hill, Jr., MENC Society for Jazz Education chair and past president of MENC,
performed with the Howard University Jazztet.

On June 21, the program was “Jazz from the Campus,” during which the Howard University Jazztet performed original compositions. The Jazztet is an instrumental ensemble that is a direct outgrowth of improvisation classes. Membership is by audition, and students receive academic credit and study classic small ensemble works of composers such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.

MENC Society for Jazz Education chair Willie L. Hill, Jr. played saxophone with the group, which included members Brent Birckhead, alto saxophone; Donvonte McCoy, trumpet; Elijah Balbed, tenor saxophone; Josh Walker, guitar; Amy Bormet, piano; Karine Chapdelaine, bass; and Carroll Dashiell, drums. The group is directed by Charlie Young.

On June 22, the Cherry Blossom String Quartet performed original compositions by students. The members of the quartet are Chalermrit Siraseranant, first violin; Erin Ryan, second violin; Julia Roderique, viola; and Kate Rears Burgman, cello.

Four of the student composers honored with performances were present: (from left) Herman Gudjonson, Carolyn Chen, Solomon Hoffman, and Anne Polyakov. They  took the stage and discussed the inspiration for their works before the Cherry Blossom String Quartet performed them.

In all the quartet played seven works. The compositions were among the best selected form the PTA Reflections Contest, which is conducted in conjunction with MENC.

See video clips of the three days of performances

Photos by Pierre Beelendorf, Roz Fehr and Victoria Eastman

Roz Fehr, June 26, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education