Pioneer Back to Orchestra Part 2! Additional Ensemble Opportunities

Email Sent on Sept. 2nd, 2015

Hello Pioneer Orchestra Families!

I regularly receive requests from parents and students to provide details regarding additional performance opportunities beyond Pioneer in the community. This email will lay out several of these for you to consider. 

Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra

The MYSO is one of the premiere youth ensembles in Michigan, and we are incredibly lucky to have it meet right in our back door! The fabulous director, Professor Anthony Elliott guides this orchestra to great heights each year by choosing vibrant and rich repertoire. The group regularly rehearses on Sunday afternoons from 1:15-3:45p at the Moore Building Rehearsal Hall on the UM Campus. Ensemble entry is by audition only and you will regularly find several Pioneer students in the group, and often, leading the sections within the group. 

For anyone out there interested in playing terrific repertoire under a great maestro, and would like to get a sense of what music at UM is all about, 

I HIGHLY encourage you to take the audition on Sept. 13th. 

Here are the details!

Detroit Civic Youth Ensembles

If you are willing to make a trip to Detroit once a week for a great musical experience, this may be for you! There are several different levels of ensembles within the Civic umbrella, and entrance into these ensembles is by audition only. Many students have returned from their experience in one of these ensembles with terrific things to say. I had the chance to meet Mr. Ken Thompson, director of one of the ensembles this past summer, and he has a wonderful vision for the upcoming season. For more information, visit their website here!

NEW class at CMSa2: Art of the String Quartet 

The string quartet has inspired thousands of works from all the great composers including Haydn, Beethoven, Shostakovich and beyond.  During this course, advanced players will delve deep into the magic of this combination of instruments and hone their skills as mature chamber players.  Pre-formed groups welcome.  For ages 14-18. (2 classes available: Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 with Gabe Bolkosky AND Saturdays, 2:30-4:30 with KasiaBielak-Hoops; 8 week course beginning week of October 1st; Tuition: $190)  To set up a placement audition call 734-213-2000 or fill out this FORM

Pioneer Chamber Orchestra

In 2012, I presented the idea to the Pioneer Orchestra community of forming an extra-curricular chamber orchestra that met with the purpose of playing as a conductor-less ensemble. The group would be chosen through an audition process, and would be between 15-20 players. They would rehearse 3-4 times a month (they may NOT rehearse on Sundays), and would receive coachings from myself and several musicians in the community. The goal of this group was simply to take standard chamber orchestra literature and perform it at a very high level, and potentially enter international competitions. They would also be expected to fundraise for their adventures on their own, but would remain an intricate part of the Pioneer Orchestra community by helping lead sectionals in Philharmonia, and coach other chamber groups.  

In 2013, PCO went to enormous heights by winning the National OrchestraFestival. The following year, the group disbanded after the quality and focus of the group started to deteriorate. I told the students at the time that I would consider reforming the group if a) they recommitted to supporting MYSO first and foremost, b) had a clear vision for each semester that would be reasonable to achieve  and c) continued to stride for excellence by holding each other accountable for practicing their parts between rehearsals. 

Now entering 2015-2016, I would once again consider supporting this group if a,b and c are continued. It is important to note however, that this group should contain students who have ambitions of being music majors in college, and who would fully commit to multiple hours of practice a day. Anything less may not be worth our time. 

If any students out there are interested in forming PCO again, please express that interest to me. 

Pioneer Chamber Ensembles

Another approach to chamber music in the community that is more inclusive, would be to schedule a regular, once a week, Pioneer Chamber Ensemble rehearsals, where student groups can get together, rehearse, prepare for outreach or concert events (or individual projects), and use this musical experience to fulfill their Orchestra Citizenship Expectation

I only share these with you, as they are the ones that we regularly work with. If there are other opportunities out there for you, I encourage you to do those as well!  GO GO GO!