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‘Big Arts’ matches music with graphic arts

The Fox Valley Symphony will repeat its successful experiment of adding graphics to music to help its audience understand the composition, this year combining it with a project involving about 1,000 Appleton Area School District students.

For Big Arts in the Little Apple, the students produced artwork to illustrate the score to Route 66 by Michael Daughtery. The symphony will perform the piece as part of its Modern America Legends concert this Saturday, Feb. 3, featuring guest trombone player Chris Brubeck. The project is supported by a $5,000 grant from the Bright Idea Fund.  (See a list of all grants awarded from the Bright Idea Fund.)

trombone player

Chris Brubeck

“The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra seeks to be an orchestra for everyone in the Fox Valley,” Oliver Zornow, FVSO community engagement manager, said in requesting the grant.

The music was distributed to elementary school art and music teachers to use in their lessons. The best of the resulting artwork — 25 pieces selected through a juried process — will be on display in the lobby of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The other more than 800 submissions are on display at 25 locations around the community.

Audience members will be given a program with illustrations. This “graphic score” approach was developed by FVSO in 2016, “to help people of all backgrounds dive deeper into a selected piece of music and expand their understanding of its context.” Listeners can use the graphics in the program to follow the story line of the music.

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