Beachwood City Schools

Beachwood City Schools News Article

BHS Hosts Three Musical Residencies

November 22, 2022

The BHS music department is thrilled to host three musical residencies in partnership with the Cleveland Federation of Musicians, Local 4. Kent State University’s Black Squirrel Winds Ensemble, and the BlueWater Brass Quintet will reside with the concert band. Conductor, cellist and viola da gambist David B. Ellis will reside with the orchestra. 

The musicians in residence will lead a total of nine workshops to prepare students for the Ohio Music Education Association’s annual solo and ensemble competition in January. Students will learn conductorless ensemble skills–that is, they will learn to play without a leader in front of them. 

“We’re raising the bar,” said Fine Arts Resource Specialist and recently retired Orchestra Director Lisa Goldman. “The residencies are going to elevate students participating in the OMEA competitions, helping them develop musically and with confidence.” 

Musicians in Residence

The Black Squirrel Winds is composed of oboist Danna Sundet, flutist Diane McCloskey Rechner, clarinetist Amitai Vardi, bassoonist Mark DeMio, and hornist Kent Larmee. Each member is on the faculty of Kent State University’s School of Music.

The BlueWater Brass Quintet features the members of the brass section of Cleveland's BlueWater Chamber Orchestra. The quintet includes trumpeters Neil Mueller and Larry Herman, hornist Ken Wadenfuhl, trombonist David Mitchell, and tubist Ken Heinlein. Individually they hold positions with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Canton Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic, the Akron Symphony, CityMusic, Burning River Brass, the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and the Berkshire Bach Society.  

David Ellis, the orchestra’s musician in residence, directs the Case Western Reserve University’s Camerata Chamber Orchestra and is the Executive and Artistic Director for Earth and Air: String Orchestra. 

Developing Shared Leadership

The musicians in residence will teach students to share the responsibility of leadership during a chamber performance. Students will learn to read each other’s body language and breathing to communicate tempo, phrasing, and dynamics. As they prepare for the ensemble competition, students will engage in collective decision making to craft a shared interpretation of a piece. 

“Communication skills are vital to an ensemble,” said Goldman. “This is an opportunity to develop these skills with clear intention.”

In recent workshops, the Black Squirrel Winds Ensemble and BlueWater Brass Quintet performed chamber pieces from the OMEA required list. Band Director David Luddington prompted students to notice how the musicians used subtle cues to change leadership as they played. 

“The level of musicianship at these performance workshops was incredible,” said Luddington. “Students need models of virtuosic playing that they can aspire to with their own musicianship.”

Luddington added that he has enjoyed learning alongside students.

“The ensembles bring in perspectives outside of my own,” he said. “I’m taking notes and incorporating this knowledge into my own teaching.”

So agreed Goldman, who is delighted that BHS students have this opportunity to study under some of greater Cleveland’s top musicians.

“We are fortunate in Cleveland to have so many fantastic resources in the palm of our hand,” said Goldman.

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