The Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra announces a partnership with Holyoke Summer Strings. The partnership is supported in part by funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural Investment Portfolio Program, and with invaluable assistance from The Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts [MIFA].
Holyoke Summer Strings (HSS), founded by Musicorda in the 1980’s, has grown from providing free violin and cello instruction in the Holyoke Public Schools to include an inspiring, 5-week day camp for public school students focussed on string instrument instruction. During several brainstorming sessions hosted by another Holyoke arts institution, Massachusetts International Festival for the Arts (MIFA), Jennifer Gelineau, HSS’ Director for nearly a decade, and HVGO’s Peter Blanchette were delighted to find that the two groups had such compatible visions.
While HSS uses a modified Suzuki teaching method and HVGO uses a modified demonstrative technique more reminiscent of rock-n-roll, both groups believe that people can discover the techniques needed for classical music within their own listening culture.
Further, both HSS and HVGO believe in the value of musical literacy, but also believe that big strides in musicianship can occur even pre-reading.
Thus, this summer, in addition to instruction in violin, viola and cello, Holyoke Summer Strings will offer free, introductory guitar ensemble instruction to Holyoke public school students. HVGO Assistant Musical Director Joe Ricker will teach four groups of 10 students weekly guitar ensemble classes at Holyoke’s Morgan School. Specifically, Blanchette and Ricker are working on an arrangement of Cheki Morena as an introductory piece for HSS’s new guitar students.
HVGO’s Peter Blanchette acknowledged the assistance of MIFA’s Executive Director Don Sanders and MIFA’s Managing Director Kathy McKean: “They are such excellent advocates for the arts that they functioned like organizational match-makers.
This is just the first step in a collaboration with Jennifer and HSS. HVGO would like to establish an ongoing guitar orchestra in the Holyoke Public Schools.”
Click here to visit HSS’s “GoFundMe” to ensure students will have a full compliment of electives this summer such as yoga, dance, chorus, art, and creative writing.
L-R: HVGO Musical Director Peter Blanchette,
Holyoke Summer Strings Director Jenifer Gelineau
HVGO Assistant Musical Director Joe Ricker
HVGO board member Mary Anne Fishman
MIFA Executive Director Don Sanders
MIFA Managing Director Kathy McKean