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Music for everyone: Big Arts in the Little Apple

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra developed two innovative “Graphic Score” listening guides thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Bright Idea Fund and a $1,500 grant from Infant Welfare Circle of KD Jean and J. Treat Thomas Fund, both within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. The visual tools help people of all backgrounds better understand and connect with musical pieces performed by the Symphony.

By Oliver Zornow, Director of Community Engagement, Fox Valley Symphony

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra is excited to lead a multi-part collaboration celebrating music and the visual arts in our community.

Each year, Appleton area students learn about and listen to a featured piece of music. They respond with the creation of their own artworks in their visual art classes.

The Graphic Score is an illustrated listening guide first developed by the Fox Valley Symphony in 2016 that seeks to help people of all backgrounds dive deeper into a specific piece of music. By developing and deploying this tool for our concert audience, we improve the experience for first-time concert goers and those with limited experience with symphonic music — deepening their understanding and appreciation for the music presented on stage.

We also leverage this tool in schools through the Big Arts in the Little Apple program, introducing students and their families to the music ahead of time, strengthening the likelihood they will opt to attend what may be their first symphony concert.

This year, one of the Graphic Scores is a companion to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, which was performed by the orchestra last month at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Copies of this listening guide were made available for audience members inside the concert hall as well as to educators to introduce the piece in their classrooms ahead of the concert.

The second is a tool developed in conjunction with the Big Arts in the Little Apple program, which engages nearly 1,000 students in an exploration of the intersection between music and the visual arts.

The featured piece, which will be performed at the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra March 9 concert, is Mothership by Mason Bates.  This unique piece of music combines orchestra and electronica to evoke the idea of the orchestra serving as a mothership being “docked” by several soloists.

“The scores not only provide an opportunity for concert attendees to dive deeper into the selected pieces on the program, but we share them with local classrooms to help educators introduce and excite their students about music for the orchestra,” said Jamie LaFreniere, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra executive director.  “The graphic scores are just another one of the ways we seek to invite our entire community to explore the music presented by our talented orchestra.”

For more information, contact Oliver Zornow at the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.

You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!
See how our Bright Idea Fund impacted our community last year.


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