Westside schools:
CHS ensemble to NY; ‘music garden’ at BV

       Thanks to a strong audition tape, Coronado High School's Wind Ensemble is scheduled to play in New York City Sunday, March 21 at the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.
       According to Coronado band instructor Alan Combs, 41 of the 50 ensemble members will be able to make the trip, “but we'll have really good instrumentation, anyway.”
       Organized by Distinguished Concerts International New York as part of its efforts to encourage young musicians, the show is titled “From Sea to Shining Sea.” A few other groups will also perform, including the Peak Wind Symphony, including one Coronado student, which is part of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association.
       The director of the Wind Symphony is Richard Kusk, who is also teaching orchestra at Coronado High this year.
       The Wind Ensemble members have been fundraising all year to help cover the costs of the New York trip. That effort is “pretty close to being over, but if we were to get any donations we would put them to good use for the trip by paying for some additional educational sight-seeing for the students,” Combs said.
       The group also performed well last week in the Regional Concert Band Festival, receiving straight Superior ratings, Combs said.

A "chime wall" much like this one is among seven outdoor instruments the PTA is planning for its music garden at the Buena Vista Montessori Elementary School.
Courtesy of Michelle Moore

       Buena Vista Montessori Elementary students, in their first year in the building at 924 W. Pikes Peak Ave., will begin planting a vegetable garden in April.
       Another type of garden is also in the works: a “music garden.” The idea is to augment children's awareness of sound and rhythm with various sturdy yet melodic instruments that are built to be kept outdoors, according to plans by the school's PTA.
       “We really thought it would be great for our kids,” said Michelle Moore, PTA president. “There has been a lot of research showing that children involved with music have higher test scores and a better time at school.”
       The seven large devices, which would be set up under some trees in the playground near the cottage where school music classes are taught, will cost a total of just under $6,000. They are a hanging amadinda (large xylophone made from Brazilian hardwood), chime wall (aluminum pipes in a frame of pressure-treated wood), Jamaican steel drum, whale drum (including 10 pentatonic tuned keys), rain wheel (with beads inside; turning it sounds like a rainstorm), bongo drums and an imbabarimba (an African instrument that's similar to a xylophone). All have a 5-to-10-year warranty, Moore said.
       A major fundraiser is planned Tuesday, April 6 at the Whole Foods store on 7635 North Academy Blvd. The business has agreed to give the school 3 percent of its sales proceeds that day, according to PTA member Kristen Downs. The hope is that percentage could mean as much as $1,800, which would let the PTA buy and install three of the seven instruments this spring, then resume fundraising next fall for some more, Moore said.
       Other academic areas will also be aided by the music garden, according to a PTA report, which states: “Music appreciation promotes listening, language, math and science skills. Many instruments have roots in other cultures and can assist in multi-cultural studies.”

Westside Pioneer/press releases