In 2020, Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts proudly brings into the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools a day of Educational ArtReach enrichment provided by seasoned teaching artists in a wind quintet from one of Pennsylvania’s leading chamber music ensembles, the Renaissance City Winds. Known for promoting the fine art of wind chamber music since 1975, The ensemble has been hailed in the press for being “Nothing short of brilliant” [Olean Times Herald], “Playing with excitement, musicality and daring” [WQED-FM], ”Expert wind players… attractive program… enjoyable” [New York Times].
These seasoned and award winning Teaching Artists will conduct small classroom workshops for K-6, assembly concerts for K-12 and after-school coaching sessions with Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools Junior and Senior High School band students.
Seasoned educators in the public schools, the Renaissance City Winds have been giving school concerts and extended residencies since their very first season in 1975-76. The ensemble is a juried roster artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ Arts-in-Education program. They have presented one to two week long residencies, including lecture demonstrations for assemblies and/or classes on themes as diverse as American music of various ethnic backgrounds and music by women composers, with study guides available for elementary schools so teachers can prepare their students.
Jennifer Lowrey said of ARCA’s arts education program, “The students at A-C Valley have a love for the arts. The programming ARCA has brought into our district over the years has nurtured that love and opened a window into a world of professional artistic excellence that many students otherwise might not get a chance to experience. It also has given them a glimpse of the possibility of who they could become as an artist.”
Karen Hetrick, Elementary band director and general music teacher added, “The students and faculty at A-C Valley Elementary School are so thankful for the arts opportunities that ARCA has brought to our school. Students have been exposed to professional singers, dancers, instrumentalists and actors of the highest caliber. My students are always so excited and enthusiastic to play after watching and listening to these wonderful groups. The elementary band students especially love interacting with the performers in the small group settings both during the day and in the after-school sessions. Thank you so much for the continued artistic enrichment you provide to our students and community.”
A-C Valley Band Direction, Scott DiTullio, expressed his delight that the group will be conducting after-school, hands-on workshops with his students in the A-C Valley Jr. and Sr. High School Bands on March 3: “Musicians grow, in much the same way as athletes. Musicians train daily for perfection of their instrument. As they perform with others, musicians have to be at the highest possible level. They cannot make a mistake. One wrong note or rhythm in music, creates a major problem for the entire group as they are performing. Unlike in basketball, if a player misses a free throw, the rest of the team is there to make up for it. That doesn’t happen in music. The role of each musician is vital to the entire group - it takes all of them to be 100% accurate all of the time. Throughout the last several years we have had many university band directors work with our students to help get us to the next level. Having the seasoned teaching artists and dynamic professional musicians in The Renaissance City Winds on our campus is an added bonus! They are inspiring performers and experienced teachers who will be working with the students to help them understand more of what their individual responsibilities are as a musician and as a member of the band. A special thank you to ARCA for bringing these amazing programs to our students and community.”