Inside Stories

InsideChelmsford: Student-Musicians Attend Stringfest

Fifth grade students participate in a beginner workshop during Stringfest, which was held at McCarthy Middle School on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

by Jennie Oemig

Chelmsford – Clinicians from Berklee College of Music came in to work with and perform for Chelmsford Public Schools students during Stringfest on Wednesday, January 10.

The lead clinician this year was Mimi Rabson from the Berklee College of Music, who specializes in teaching improvisational skills in jazz, rock, world music and other contemporary idioms, as well as technology and recording techniques for strings.

“The goal of Stringfest is to allow the string students across Chelmsford to meet, interact and explore new styles of music together, while celebrating orchestra music in our town,” said Luke Miller, music educator at McCarthy Middle School. “This brings together students from multiple schools as one way to prepare for the transition between buildings and programs next year.”

During the event, professional musicians and educators who specialize in a certain style or genre of string music come in to work with Chelmsford student-musicians.

“The students participate in workshops of age/ability-appropriate music in a particular style or genre to introduce them to other types of music-making than we typically explore in the classroom,” Mr. Miller said. “This is a low-pressure event where the students themselves are not putting on a performance, and are solely there to experience, learn, and enjoy the process of making music in a new style.”

Grade: Chelmsford 6th and 7th graders came together for an intermediate workshop during Stringfest on Wednesday, Jan. 10

Students were grouped by age and ability level for the workshops. Fifth graders participated in a beginner workshop, sixth and seventh graders collaborated during an intermediate workshop, and eighth graders joined high school students for an advanced workshop.

“Students have really enjoyed this event in the past, and it is a great way to bring together all of the string students from Parker, McCarthy and CHS, and to celebrate orchestra music in Chelmsford,” Mr. Miller said.

Stringfest, which is sponsored by Chelmsford Friends of Music, concluded with a performance by the guest artists which allows for the student-musicians to hear the style of music they have been practicing in action.

“Our three orchestra teachers, Kate Comeau, Luke Miller and Lisa Tiano, have done an amazing job planning this event to expose students to professionals in the industry, develop their performance skills, and give them an opportunity to collaborate with students in other schools,” said Christy Whittlesey, the fine arts coordinator for Chelmsford Public Schools.

Chelmsford eighth graders and high school students take part in an advanced workshop during Stringfest on Wednesday, Jan. 10

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