Ravinia Associates Become Newest Orchestra at Hibbard Elementary

The Ravinia Associates, a group of young professionals dedicated to supporting the musical arts, emphasizing Ravinia Festival and its REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs, held their winter board meeting at Hibbard Elementary School on January 22, where they became its newest orchestra for the day as part of their exploration of the orchestra training initiative at Hibbard. 

The day started in the auditorium where students from the YOURS and REACH Orchestras performed for the group.  All members of the Associates were then handed their own instrument and broke into smaller groups by instrument. The students worked with each member on a one-to-one basis, teaching them how to create sound and to play the rhythm to the William Tell Overture. When asked about the opportunity to teach, student violinist Sheila Esquival (pictured above) said “It was really fun to teach them and to see them get excited about what we get to do everyday.”  The students and adults then came back together, in the auditorium, playing side-by-side for a full orchestra rehearsal and performance of the overture. 

Kara Longo Korte, President of Ravinia Associates added that “The meeting at Hibbard Elementary was by far my favorite Associates meeting! …to witness the children playing in the orchestra made a big impact on each Associate. Once we tried to play an instrument that we’d never touched before, it made each of us understand just how amazing this program really is…” Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.

Program History

Ravinia Festival and The People's Music School have joined forces to bring music education to children.  In 2008 The People's Music School initiated an orchestra training project and created the YOURS (Youth Orchestras United Rita Simo) Orchestra at Hibbard Elementary School, modeled after Venezuela's El Sistema. The system has embraced the notion of transforming groups of children into communities of musicians who in turn transform their communities.  The Ravinia Festival Women's Board initiated the REACH Orchestra at Hibbard in January 2010.  The partnership now has 3 orchestras at Hibbard where 160 students participate in sectional and full orchestra rehearsals 5 days a week for 2 hours after school.