Local musicians, dancers join up for school music
FARMER’S KORNER – When you’ve got more tuba players than tubas, you’ve got a problem on your hands.Enter Summit County’s three major musical groups, which are gathering on Sunday to help raise money for music programs for Summit schools.Summit Community Orchestra, Summit Concert Band and Summit Choral Society will let loose for six of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker suites and a selection of holiday carol medleys. The concert will raise funds for the instrumental music programs at Summit High School and Summit Middle School.”The school funds the day-to-day operations, but we rely on fundraising for capital needs,” said Mark Clark, band director at Summit Middle School.In the past two and a half years, Summit Middle School has benefited from community support to the tune of two tubas, two bassoons and two oboes – although the need for tubas still exist. Funds for those purchases have come from the Summit County Restaurant Association, the Keystone Pavilion and student fundraisers.
An alto sax and a trombone were also donated to Summit High School this year. “Those folks have supported us and now the orchestra is stepping up and helping us with the next step,” Clark added. Funds from Sunday’s benefit will likely go toward purchasing a tuba for the middle school and a string bass or tuba for the high school. Tubas cost about $5,000, and purchasing one would tap the entire instrumental music budget at the high school.During the concert, each group will perform a section autonomously, as well as together. In addition to music, members of the Summit School of Dance will perform during the Nutcracker renditions.The show starts at 4 p.m. in the Summit High School auditorium, with short breaks between performing groups.
Volunteers will be asking for donations at the door. Businesses can contribute to the benefit by purchasing advertisements in the concert’s program.Summit Community Orchestra spearheaded the organization. After digging up a couple Nutcracker suites that the dancers thought would work nicely, Diane Runnells, president of the orchestra, realized she had a prime opportunity to unite the four fine arts groups.”For several years we’ve wanted to do this,” Runnells said. With the holiday concert plans on tap and sufficient funds in the orchestra’s bank accounts, the nonprofit group thought they would try to help somebody else. Though this is the first time these groups have come together for a joint concert, they are by no means unfamiliar with one another. The choir has worked with both the band and the orchestra separately, and the orchestra technically is an offshoot of the band.
Ann Erdle, director of the choral society, is also the first chair trumpet for the orchestra. Jim Knapp, conductor of the Summit Concert Band, plays first chair trombone for the orchestra. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.Michelle Frey, director of the Summit School of Dance, signed up her CO.motion Dancers for the gig after being asked by her chiropractor – Diane Runnells. The CO.motion Dancers will be the youngest group of performers at the fundraiser. The 14 dancers – 12 girls and two boys – range in age from 12 to 18 years old.”This is pretty new and special to us,” said Frey. “It’s the first time these kids will perform with a live orchestra.” CO.motion dancers have not been supported by live music since a millennium performance they gave on July Fourth of 2000.Participants in the holiday concert are hoping for a smashing success. “We’d like to make this a yearly thing,” Runnells said. The auditorium holds 736 people. Runnells is hoping that by showtime there’ll be standing room only.
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