[ Music in Schools ]

Music and Book Writing Program Performs June 1 & 2

May 26, 2011

Educational Collaboration with the Yale School of Music, Greater Bridgeport Symphony, and the Bridgeport Public Schools

In the Music in Schools Initiative’s engaging Music and Book Writing Program, student storytellers and illustrators come together to create their own tales. A Yale School of Music composer work with each group of students to create a soundtrack for the books.

From "An Afternoon Adventure," by students at Beardsley School in 2010

The program aims to increase students’ literacy skills and to introduce students to the arts in a creative and interactive way. The collaboration began in the 2008–09 academic year with 150 students, and it has been an immense success. This year’s program has expanded to a total of 800 students from eight schools, and the task of writing and illustrating stories has expanded to involve the students in acting and singing.

This year, the Music and Book Writing collaborations will be presented to the public in three Bridgeport performances. The stories have been written and illustrated by students. The illustrations are projected above the musicians, who perform the soundtrack live.

“Thanks so much for this opportunity with the Music and Book Writing Program – this has been without a doubt an incredibly enriching project. I have tried to spend a few minutes in classrooms when [composer] Jordan [Kuspa] is here and  have witnessed a deep level of thinking, language and creativity in children. They have enjoyed this project immensely. I also think staff have benefited from seeing how children get excited and creative and how intelligent and capable they really are.

— Manuel Rocha
Columbus School Principal, Bridgeport, CT

Each program features a narrator – and audience participation. At certain critical moments, the audience gets to choose the direction of the story by applauding or shouting. The narrator will read the entire story twice so that the audience can experience more than one ending. The music and the illustrations vary accordingly.

Wednesday, June 1 at 10:00 am
Six to Six Magnet School
(700 Palisade Ave., Bridgeport)
Featuring an adventure story written and illustrated by students at Hall, High Horizons, and Waltersville. The music, written by Jordan Kuspa, will be performed by musicians from the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. The narrator is Denise Clemons, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools.

Thursday, June 2 at 10:00 am
Central High School
Auditorium (1 Lincoln Blvd., Bridgeport)
Featuring a Batalla School adventure story, written and illustrated by students and accompanied by student actors from Central High School and musicians from the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. Composer: Omar Surillo composed the score; Sharisma Simmons, a teacher at Wilbur Cross School in Bridgeport, will provide narration.

Thursday, June 2 at 1:15 pm
Central High School Auditorium
(1 Lincoln Blvd., Bridgeport)
Featuring an adventure story written and illustrated by Marin students, and performed by the Marin and Bassick High School student chorus. The performance will be accompanied by musicians from the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. The composer is Omar Surillo; the narrator is Stanley Arrington, an employee of the Board of Education.

All events last approximately one hour and are open to the public. The program is sponsored by the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. Video of all performances will be available online after the event.  Each school’s story will be compiled and formed into an electronic book to be viewed online.

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