October 2008 Issue
On a High Note
On October 29, 27 girls will embark on the experience of a lifetime. With recorders in hand, members of the Recorder Consort at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights –– an honors group chosen for their musical excellence –– will travel throughout Germany to perform, sightsee and experience the history of music to its fullest.
“They get to see music history as something alive and active rather than dead and boring,” says Deb Southard, Hathaway Brown’s middle school music teacher, explaining that her goal is to foster not only an appreciation for music but also a love of it in her students.
And she has done so through a fairly unconventional instrument. “A lot of people look at the recorder like it’s a toy, but with our approach you can play more advanced pieces, like a full-range concerto,” she says.
The girls have been rehearsing for nearly a year in order to prepare for the trip, practicing pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Phillip Telemann and Carl Orff. They’ll perform in the places where the music was originally composed, including Dresden and Munich.
“There’s a whole different element to learning when the students travel to the places they’re learning about,” Southard says.
Though this trip is about instilling a love of music and culture within her students, it will also be a rewarding experience for Southard: On the tour, the ensemble will play at Munich International School, where she began her teaching career and the place where the inspiration for this program was born.
“It’s really like going full circle for me,” Southard says.