Highland Park Students Experience Music with Ravinia Artists

Ravinia Festival's involvement with Highland Park elementary schools was showcased over the last two weeks as the 5th grade students from Indian Trail and Oak Terrace held their spring performances.  Each school received a 4-week Ravinia sponsored residency with the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble.  Indian Trail students explored concepts of music including; melody, harmony, form, tempo and rhythm and related them to the systems of the body. The students created and performed their own compositions to show how these individual components come together to create a piece.   Oak Terrace students discovered the symphony through the famous melodies of Beethoven.  At the final performance last week, students performed themes from Beethoven Symphonies with members of the Ensemble (pictured above).

The “professional” debut of over 100 Highland Park middle school students at Ravinia Festival’s Bennett Gordon Hall on April 19, was the highlight of the residencies with Ravinia artists. “A Morning of Jazz” featured performances by band students from Northwood, Elm Place and Edgewood Middle Schools alongside several Ravinia Festival Jazz Mentors, nine of Chicago’s best jazz musicians that give master classes to Chicago Public High School students and intensive year-round training to twenty-five CPS students (Jazz Scholars) selected through audition. Led by their respective band directors Margaret Delligatti (pictured right), Matt Taylor and Mollie McDougall, Northwood performed Duke Ellington's “Satin Doll,” Elm Place played “Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk, and Edgewood rendered “Caravan” by Duke Ellington.  

Ravinia Festival Jazz Mentors Ernie Adams (drums), Pat Mallinger (saxophone), Audrey Morrison (trombone) and Pharez Whitted (trumpet) worked closely with District 112 band student’s at all three Highland Park middle schools to expand their repertoire into jazz with an in-depth exposure and study of jazz music, techniques and performance. These top Chicago Jazz musicians taught six workshops at each school in which Highland Park's aspiring middle school musicians were able to study and learn in small groups.

For over 10 years, Ravinia Festival and the 112 Education Foundation have partnered to bring high quality musical residencies and performances to Highland Park elementary and middle school students.  Ravinia provides top Chicago musicians to work with the students in band, orchestra and choir and musical programming that enhances the musical curriculum to at least two elementary schools on a rotating basis, and to all three middle schools. The Festival hosts the annual Kids-Go-Classic concert at Ravinia where thousands of District 112 students and their families are given free lawn passes to attend a summer afternoon concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

Isaac Sinnett
REACH*TEACH*PLAY Project Manager