May 25, 2010
Orchestra Nova Hosts Exciting “Music Bee” for 150 San Diego Elementary School Finalists
Three Area School Teams Named the First-Place Winners
With their cheering sections behind them, finalists from 18 San Diego county schools competed in Orchestra Nova’s 2nd annual Hunter Family Music Memory competition at Brown Chapel, Point Loma Nazarene University, on May 20. The “Music Bee” competition was the culmination of a year of intense listening studies of 16 pieces of classical music for over 6,000 3rd-6th grade students in the San Diego, Del Mar and National City Unified School Districts and at The Cambridge School and the Harriet Tubman Village Charter School.
The Jerebek Elementary School 5th-6th grade team scored a perfect 100 score, a rare feat, by identifying the title and composer of each of 20 pieces of music after Orchestra Nova, led by guest conductor Dana Mambourg Zimbric, played only 4-5 measures from a section in the middle of the piece. Their teacher Margie Orem said, “Most of these children had never heard a live orchestra perform before this event – you can’t imagine how exciting it was for them. They were in total awe of getting to sit so close to the orchestra’s musicians – to make eye contact with them, to have the conductor talk directly to them. They studied so hard and it was just a wonderful experience for them.”
The 3rd-4th grade winners:
First place (tie) – Ashley Falls Elementary School, Michelle Beeson, teacher
First place (tie) – Del Mar Heights Elementary School, Michelle Beeson, music teacher
Second place – Hickman Elementary School, Kathy Stanton, teacher
Third place – The Cambridge School, Naomi Ching, teacher
(Note: they didn’t begin studying the selections until February 2010)
The 5th-6th grade winners:
First place – Jerebek Elementary School, Margie Orem, teacher
Second place – Sycamore Ridge Elementary School, Stephanie Ilkhanipour, teacher
Third place – Hickman Elementary School, Kathy Stanton, teacher
Reflecting one of his greatest passions in life – ensuring quality music education in our schools – the orchestra’s artistic director Jung-Ho Pak kicked off the Hunter Family Music Memory Program, one of the most extensive music education programs ever provided by an arts organization in the San Diego area, in the fall of 2008. San Diego’s mayor, Jerry Sanders, had proclaimed Thursday, May 20, as “Music Memory Day” in honor of the competition.
Orchestra Nova’s education/outreach coordinator, Paige Satter, says, “We’re really planting the seed for future classical music enthusiasts – in essence, we’re helping to save classical music for future generations. I’m just overwhelmed with how excited these young students get as they listen to and learn about this music.”
Jason Picker, a 4th grader on the winning Ashley Falls team says, “I used to think classical music was long and boring stuff, but I listen to it on my iPod now. The pictures on the Magic Maps in class really helped make it more fun. The Turkish March by Beethoven is one of my favorites.” According to his father, Dan Picker, Jason now falls asleep listing to classical music on his iPod and his piano playing has significantly improved.
Joe Martinson, a 3rd grader from Jerebeck willingly gave up his recesses and lunch time to study for the competition – much to his mother’s dismay. “Seeing a real orchestra was the best part of all,” he said. “It sounded so much better than it did on the CD.”
Liana Steinberg-Casper, a 5th grader on the winning Jerebeck team, said “All of the hard work was worth it! I was so excited and happy.” She loved practicing for the competition with her grandfather and teasing him about his bad spelling of the composer’s and composition’s names. One of Liana’s favorite parts of the competition was when the attractive young opera singer Melissa Carter sang Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. As her teacher Margie Orem said, “The kids were surprised to see an opera singer who wasn’t ‘the fat lady in the helmet’ – I explained to them that singers are like athletes. They work out and they strive to be the best at what they do, just like an athlete.”
Orchestra Nova’s Hunter Family Music Memory program is made possible through funding from the Frances Hunter family, the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund, the County of San Diego, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the Wells Fargo Foundation, the Samuel I. and John Henry Fox Foundation, the William Hall and Ruth Rathell Tippett Foundation and William and Mary Jane Rohn.
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