D-E 360° Summer Connections kicked off Summer 2017 with style when String Society celebrated its 10th anniversary year in operation.
String Society (SS) is an “Immersive” course that offers exceptional string students the chance to explore gems of the string orchestra repertoire while being introduced to music by living composers.
“String Society is a great way for students to come together around a love of music to learn orchestral classics. This year we were thrilled to welcome back some of our beloved SS faculty members and returning alumni SS students, as well as welcome new teachers and student performers!” commented D-E Music Department faculty member and SS Co-Director Annaliesa Place (violin).
Place, together with her husband and fellow SS Co-Director Diego Garcia (cello), founded this unique symposium-style music experience for student “stringers” in Grades 5-12. Participants take on an intensive audition and selection process. During the academic year Place serves as faculty advisor and creative director for StringJam, Dwight-Englewood Upper School’s elite conductor-less string ensemble, which has performed twice at Carnegie Hall. Diego Garcia’s role during the school year is serving as conductor and cello instructor at D-E and he also serves as Orchestra Director of the JCC Thurnauer School of Music Symphony Orchestra. Joining Place and Garcia in the SS faculty team this summer were Ella Heifets (violin); Ani Kalayjian (cello); Salley Koo (violin); Adda Kridler (violin/viola); Everhard Paredes (violin); and Karen Poleshuck (cello). Several D-E student musicians, including Maxine Musto ’17, served as enthusiastic, and always-encouraging Teaching Assistants/Counselors.
During String Society, in addition to orchestra and chamber experiences, students take part in sectionals, an improvisational workshop, and mindfulness activities such as yoga. Campers this year also enjoyed making friendship bracelets and “edible crafts.”
String Society memorably wrapped up its 10th anniversary week with a Grand Finale Concert in Hajjar Auditorium. Featuring several different small groups, including trios and quartets, and larger ensembles, the program treated listeners to classic composers including Mozart “(Quartet No. 4 in C Major)”; Vivaldi “(Concerto in A Minor)”; Haydn; and Schubert; and more contemporary works including “Aurora Borealis” by Garcia. The audience was particularly “charged” by the fantastic performance of “Shock Wave” with guest composer and violinist Joe Deninzon. Deninzon’s amped-up violin and charismatic performing style inspired SS student violinists Dylan Melisilastos and Michael Montenegro ’18 to improvise modern riffs together with the entire SS chamber orchestra. In the admiring words of Head of School Dr. De Jarnett, who joined those in a standing ovation at the close of the performance, “This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience.”