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February 28, 2012

Voices in the Community: Home School Students & Youth Performances


Photo: Dancing on stage at the Rebirth Brass Band Youth performance. Photo by Mark Gjukich Photography.

We love offering youth performances throughout our season.

The performances are attended by classes of students, but home-schooled students also get together in groups in order for the performances. We asked a few of the home-schooled families to talk about their experiences.

One family attended a performance in February:

The Chamber Ensemble of the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra was fantastic!  We didn’t really know what to expect going into it. We thought it would be relaxing, and interesting and that it would likely make us hungry for Chinese food, all of which it did. But, it was so much more!  The personality delivered through the voice of the director and the enthusiasm of the performers transcended any language barrier. The explanations and stories that were shared before each piece transformed the music and gave it an ethereal beauty. It’s effect remained with us throughout the day.  It has forever changed the way we will enjoy Chinese music; we will always be listening to see if we can guess at the story that the instruments are telling.  As homeschoolers we strive to take every advantage of the cultural benefits that so enhance the learning experience.

Another family attended two youth performances in one day:

When the subject of Maya, our 13 year old comes up in conversation, questions about home school often arise.  Volumes have been spoken and written about the potential of home schooling and why so many do it with such passion.  High on my list of “whys” is evidenced by the kind of day we had with the help of our friends at UMS.

We live, work and raise our children in a community that connects with the arts in ways that few other cities are fortunate to enjoy. In no small measure this is why we are the community we are.  On February 10th UMS sponsored two widely divergent but equally compelling musical performances.  We’ve been attending UMS youth performances for years with a home school group. It wasn’t a matter of if we would attend but which of these two performances, scheduled 1 hour apart, we would choose. With the help of the UMS volunteers, we chose both.

Our home school group was graced by a lively and culturally illuminating hour of traditional Chinese chamber music. The charming director of the Shanghai Orchestra and his translator did a terrific job of educating and entertaining.  Just as the last applause died away the UMS team dismissed us first and we were off.  We entered Hill Auditorium and were whisked to our section just in time for the opening applause as Conductor Morgan took the stage to lead the Sphinx Orchestra.  Whew.  Now for something completely different and equally joyful and enriching.  The Sphinx laureates were inspiring in their virtuosity and presence. I am glad not to have had to do the judges work… and equally glad not to have had to make the choice between these extraordinary musical events.

Bonus Video: Chamber Ensemble of the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra also visited Logan Elementary:

Do you remember attending arts events or performances as a student? What effect do you think these experiences have?