Walter Bitner

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Education & Community Engagement at the Nashville Symphony: Fall 2017 Review

Nashville Symphony EDCE staff with special guest after the Gala dress rehearsal, September 8, 2017 ~ (l to r) Kimberly McLemore, WB, John Williams, Kelley Bell, Kristen Freeman (click images to enlarge)

It’s been a busy fall, packed with a cornucopia of education and community engagement activities at the Nashville Symphony. This is my bi-annual review of our department’s programming, just in time to wrap up the year!

 

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MNPS Neglects Music Education in Strategic Framework

The long-awaited strategic plan for Nashville’s public schools – released by Metro Nashville Public Schools in April 2017 – includes a many-faceted plan for improving the future of our schools in the years to come. Nine months in the making, this robust 38-page document includes an opening letter from the Board of Education Chair and the Director of Schools; a District Overview; an Executive Summary; the Strategic Framework and Elements section itself as well as sections on Students, People, Organization, and Community; an extensive Glossary; and a closing Acknowledgements section.

However, Exceeding Great Expectations: MNPS Strategic Framework does not include any mention of the words “music education” nor does it include any mention of the school district’s  nationally recognized music education initiative Music Makes Us.

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Education & Community Engagement at the Nashville Symphony: Fall 2016 Review

Kristen Freeman, Kelley Bell, and Walter Bitner, October 17, 2016 ~ photo courtesy of Roger Wiesmeyer

Once again December is here. Thanksgiving is past and the headlong rush to the end of the year has begun. Over the last unseasonably warm months as we waited for fall to come, the Nashville Symphony has continued to fulfill our mission to bring music to the community through our education and community engagement programs, in addition to our multitude of concert offerings. It’s a veritable musical banquet for Music City here at Schermerhorn Symphony Center!

Let’s look back on the activities of our department this fall:

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Education & Community Engagement at the Nashville Symphony: Fall 2015 Review

your Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement Department: (l to r) Kelley Bell, Walter Bitner, Kristen Freeman ~ during a break from filming a promotional video

from my Instagram feed: your Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement Department: (l to r) Kelley Bell, Walter Bitner, Kristen Freeman ~ during a break from filming

December is here and the holidays are upon us. Having made it through Thanksgiving already and fearing that Christmas and New Year’s may arrive before I do this, I am dedicating this post to a look back on the activities of our department this fall.

As I wrote this post, I became astounded at the ground we have covered in just the last four months – the depth of the Nashville Symphony’s engagement in our community and the wide range of educational activities we offer is truly remarkable. I am so proud to be able to come to work every day and participate in all of this!

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Nashville Symphony Announces Accelerando

AccelerandoIn 2016, the Nashville Symphony will launch Accelerando, an intensive program designed to prepare gifted young students of diverse backgrounds for pursuing music at the collegiate level and beyond.

Accelerando seeks to create professional opportunities for musicians from ethnic communities underrepresented in today’s orchestras by providing them with instruction, mentorship, performance experience and assistance with applying for music schools.  With the resources of a major American orchestra, these students will be able to realize their full potential and will form the next generation of orchestra musicians.

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Nashville Symphony Formalizes Partnership With NSA

from my Instagram feed: NSA dancers wait for their cue during a performance of Swan Lake with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn, February 11, 2015

from my Instagram feed: NSA dancers wait for their cue during a performance of Swan Lake with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn, February 11, 2015

This week Nashville Symphony Education staff met with Oceana Sheehan, Assistant Principal of Nashville School of the Arts, and Bob Kucher, Director of Secondary Partnerships and Programs at the PENCIL Foundation, to formalize the partnership between the symphony and the school.  It was a relatively simple process and in fact a pleasant one: we filled out some paperwork and discussed our plans for the ongoing collaboration between the two institutions next season.

Although not existing “on paper” until now, the symphony and NSA have in fact had a rich and dynamic partnership for several years now: both institutions collaborate on many events and projects throughout the year that occur both at Schermerhorn and at the school’s campus on Foster Road.

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