Beethoven 3, Schumann 3, 3rd Coast Percussion: Reflecting on December 4 – 17, 2017

As Civic Fellows we work to balance our schedules for time to improve on our instrument, and time to make our world better with music. December was a perfect time to put this balance into practice, with our diverse set of activities. On December 5, the Civic Orchestra had an open reading session of Symphony No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven and Symphony No. 3 by Robert Schumann. Reading sessions like this afford us the opportunity to gain experience with the seminal works in the repertoire.

The next day, December 6, the fellows attended a workshop with Third Coast Percussion to take-in their wisdom on how to present relevant and rewarding chamber music programs. Simultaneously, we have been working on one of my favorite projects of the year: designing and implementing from scratch original community engagement projects.

TCP Bowls COLOR - Photo by Saverio Truglia
Members of the Grammy™-winning Third Coast Percussion, L-R, Civic Alumnus Robert Dillon, Civic Alumnus David Skidmore, Sean Connors, and Peter Martin. | Photo by Saverio Truglia

The fellows were split into three small groups and asked to consider how we could best impact our Chicago community with music. Assigned to different sections of the city (South Side, West Side, and Western Suburbs), we strived to serve Chicago with our artistry, while meeting the true needs of the people with whom we would collaborate. Before bringing these projects to fruition, we had four steps to complete in the planning process:

  1. Design a project: come up with an idea that is realistic, original, and impactful.
  2. Contact partner organizations: find someone who is excited to work with us, while we help them fulfill their mission with music.
  3. Put it all on paper: describe what the project will look like, its timeline, its goals, and its budget in a formal proposal to be submitted to the Civic Orchestra administration.
  4. Pitch it: prepare a presentation to the funding panel in person to be awarded the necessary funding.

I’m so happy that each team completed these steps beautifully, and now we will move on to implementing these projects in real life. I’m inspired by the plans each of the three teams have: creating an Emoji-concert in collaboration with children with special needs in the Western Suburbs, performing a musical Mother’s Day celebration at a South Side women’s shelter, and hosting a benefit concert featuring the youth of a West Side organization fighting gun violence. Now that we have dreamed up big plans for ourselves, I can’t wait to see how these all turn out later in the spring. Stay tuned for updates!

By Civic Fellow and Bassoon Midori Samson

TOP: The 2017-18 Civic Fellows gather for a portrait in Symphony Center’s Grainger Ballroom in  | © 2017 Todd Rosenberg Photography