By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
The Huron Symphony Orchestra has been invited to do something that no AAPS band or orchestra has been invited to do since 1990: It will perform at the 70th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago next month.
Being invited to perform at this international conference is among the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a performing ensemble.
“We are honored to have this opportunity to represent Huron High School and the Ann Arbor Public Schools at this prestigious conference,” said Timothy Krohn, Director of Orchestras at Huron High School. “This invitation is a testament to what our students have been able to achieve on an international level through the exceptional K-12 music education curriculum of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. It is also a testament to the ongoing support for the arts that the Ann Arbor community provides.”
Hear an excerpt from the orchestra’s performance of “Canticle of Remembrance”:
This invitation was a result of an application process that included recordings from last year’s Orchestra Night and Michigan Music Conference Performance.
The 60-minute concert features a variety of music both new and old that showcases the many talents of the students of the Huron Symphony Orchestra. The program includes works by University of Michigan composers Evan Chambers and Michael Hopkins, and features Huron alumnus (’01) Sergeant Jonathon Troy of the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band as a guest soloist.
The opening selection by Evan Chambers was commissioned by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association in 2010 in honor of internationally known string and conducting pedagogue, Elizabeth Green, Professor Emerita of the University of Michigan. Professor Green also served as the orchestra director at Ann Arbor High School beginning in 1942 and was instrumental in building the orchestra program into what it is today.
The Huron Symphony Orchestra will also give the world premiere performance of a piece written by Mark Camphouse titled “Canticle of Remembrance,” which was commissioned by the Midwest Clinic to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the conference.
Stephen E. Roberts, Director of Bands at Huron High School and Abigail Alwin, Director of Orchestras at Clague Middle School, will join the Huron Symphony Orchestra as guest conductors.
The students are obviously excited about the opportunity—as well as the chance to sightsee in the windy city.
“It’s cool to think that we will be representing Ann Arbor when we play at the Midwest Clinic,” said Austin Aldrich, freshman double bass player. “We’ve been working hard with lots of extra practices, but it’s worth it. And getting to spend four days in Chicago is not bad either.”
His mother, Sandy Aldrich, says that the opportunity for the Huron Symphony Orchestra to perform at such a prestigious event says a lot about the community that supports it.
“I have been truly amazed at the quality of the music programs in the Ann Arbor Public Schools,” she said. “From the music directors to the parents who volunteer their time, the dedication by everyone is impressive.”
The Huron Symphony Orchestra led by Larry Dittmar was the last to perform at the conference in 1990.
The students will leave for Chicago the morning of Dec. 13 and return on the evening of Dec. 16. They will perform at the 70th annual Midwest Clinic in McCormick Place at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, December 14.
The remainder of the time, the students will enjoy some cultural and educational experiences in the city, including leading a conference session on intonation, attending conference events, stage-side seats for a Chicago Symphony performance led by Michael Tilson Thomas, and trips to SkyDeck Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
The Huron Music Association has provided fundraising efforts will ensure that every student attends regardless of financial circumstances.
“It is always a joy working with such talented and dedicated music students at Huron but is particularly so as we prepare for this performance of a life-time,” said Krohn. “Music is an integral part of our community at Huron and we are looking forward to sharing our love of music with the international music educators community at the 70th Annual Midwest Clinic.”
The Huron Symphony Orchestra will present a preview concert for the local community at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 12 in the Paul K. Meyers Auditorium at Huron High School.