Motivated by MUSIC

First Posted: 4/4/2012

For her senior project at Lackawanna Trail Jr./Sr. High School, senior Cecilia Strauch organized a concert, “A Celebration of Music!” featuring an original concert band composition, “Adventure Suite,” which she created.

The concert, to be held April 14 at 7 p.m. at the school, will also feature Jesse Morvan’s Jazz Band and a number of solo performances by other Lackawanna Trail students. All the donations collected at the door will be contributed to the Lackawanna Trail Friends of Music General Fund for the music department.

Strauch said the idea for the concert was forming in her mind for a while, but it was a graded composition writing assignment given last year by Band Director Kevin Dikeman, that spurred the idea on.

“That really gave me the motivation and encouragement to turn my idea into an action,” Strauch said via e-mail.

The process of composing the music for the concert was slow but steady, and according to Strauch’s log, after eight hours here, three hours there and another six hours here…progress began to show.

She said she started by coming up with a general outline of how each song would go, compiling enough phrases that were different from each other but still flowed to bring together the idea of the song.

“A lot of the phrases that I used,” she said, “sort of…popped into my head…Other times I would be playing around on the piano and come up with something…There were even times when I’d be writing the piece only to find myself improvising.”

Once the concert was finished, it was about 20 minutes long, which she felt wasn’t long enough to make an entire concert. So, she talked to Dikeman about adding another performance, and he suggested Jesse Morvan’s Jazz Band.

The band, which is made up of five current and past Lackawanna Trail students, agreed, and Morvan said they will be filling a 20-minute slot with popular jazz songs.

Morvan said he hopes a lot of people will attend the concert, but not only to hear the music. With budget cuts and a lack of funding in schools these days, he said music programs are often the first to go, and he hopes people will come to donate to and support the music department.

He said Strauch did a good job composing the music. Referring to the theme of her composition, he said the songs do “a good job at depicting an adventure.”

Dikeman said he’s had the opportunity to attend some of the rehearsals, and what he’s heard so far of the wind ensemble of about 25 students, is really good.

According to Dikeman, the school doesn’t have a very large music program, but it does have a strong one, and each member of the band is important. He described Strauch as “very motivated,” using the example of how she taught herself to play the bassoon.

Strauch said what she likes most about the school’s music department is “the dedication that our directors have for encouraging us to make our performances sound the best they can.”

Besides the bassoon, Strauch plays the clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, xylophone and violin, and her favorite is piano.

“Overall,” she said, “I like music that can make me feel emotion and has uniqueness and beauty, or that it can paint an image in my head.”

She said she hopes the audience will enjoy the music during the concert, and “appreciate all the hard work and talent of the performers, and in turn gain an even greater appreciation for school music programs overall.”

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