Breckenridge Music Fest helps schools spread music
Ryan Summerlin October 2, 2010
Through our Music in the Schools performing arts enrichment program, Breckenridge Music Festival works to support arts education as a critical component of educational excellence. For children in kindergarten through 12th grade, we provide creative performances and training opportunities to enhance the arts curriculum in our schools.Now in its 15th year, Music in the Schools was started in 1995 in Summit County. In 2002, the program expanded to bring arts education opportunities to Lake and Park counties. Each year, the program reaches between 2,500 and 4,000 students.Music in the School co-chairs Mary Jane Wurster and Janis Bunchman work closely with music teachers and school administrators to tailor the program to fit the needs and interests of each school. After processing suggestions and specific requests from participating school programs, performances and teaching workshops are chosen in collaboration with arts education programs including Think 360: Arts Complete Education, Central City Opera and Opera Colorado. Artists visiting Summit County for performances for the Breckenridge Music Festival’s Winter Series Concerts are matched to choral, instrumental, vocal and jazz programs in the area for in-school workshops where music students learn directly from the visiting artists.Music in the School events opened this fall with a performance Sept. 23 by storyteller Bonnie Phipps, “A Patchwork of Rhythm, Rhyme, Song & Story” at Pitts Elementary School in Leadville. In December, Music in the School will present an Instrumental Music Master Class at Summit Middle School. Violinist Carmelo de los Santos and clarinetist Keith Lemmons, both faculty at the University of New Mexico, will be joined by pianist Debra Ayers to work with middle school music students prior to their performance on the Breckenridge Music Festival’s Winter Series Concerts as The Taos Trio.We are excited to look ahead to November, when Music in the Schools will bring Central City Opera’s Opera Alive! Artists in Residence program to Summit Middle School. From Nov. 1-12, students and teachers of SMS’s instrumental and choral music and language arts programs will collaborate with artists from Central City Opera to learn about opera and write their own opera. The residency culminates on Dec. 14 with a performance of Summit Middle School’s opera, created during the Opera Alive! Residency.Music in the Schools programs will continue into the new year and throughout the school year. Planned events include a Children’s Chorale performance in Leadville, Michael Friedman jazz workshops, and performances by the David Taylor Dance Company and Central City Opera. An updated event calendar is posted on the Breckenridge Music Festival website at breckenridgemusicfestival.com as the calendar for the year is finalized.The Music in the Schools program is made possible by grants from The Summit Foundation and the Lenzmeier Williams Advised Fund of The Summit Foundation, and by the generosity of donors to the Breckenridge Music Festival.