BUFFALO GROVE HIGH SCHOOL
From Elizabeth Bennett, Director of Orchestras, Fine Arts Coordinator
There are very few elements of this school year that are considered extremely helpful or 'wins,' but it has been clear that our time with the Orion Ensemble has been one of those positives. I know personally that a program can only be successful with commitment and enthusiasm from the students involved in the program, and all those who influence them. The Orion Ensemble has been a tremendous asset during this most challenging year.
Through the many coaching sessions with the Chamber Orchestra, the Orion Ensemble was able to share musical expertise and guidance so that these ensembles could work and rehearse together remotely. These ensembles were then better able to produce both virtual and in-person performances during this exceptional time.
When we all received news that this school year would be primarily taught remotely, the Orion Ensemble did not hesitate at all with their involvement and ability to aid the students. They eagerly learned the details in running Zoom, the nuances of providing feedback and helping each student feel comfortable, and sharing in struggles and successes that we are all having during this time. This helped them to connect with the students, and vice versa.
GLENBARD EAST HIGH SCHOOL
From Timothy Fawkes, Orchestra, Strings and Guitar Teacher
This is our fifth year working with Orion, and despite additional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their work with our students continues to show a positive impact on student engagement and artistic excellence.
We are most pleased that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our collaboration with Orion continues to flourish. The musicians visit us virtually over Zoom, and all parties make the best of the realities of virtual collaboration. Our students still get expert feedback and top-notch modeling from the Orion musicians. On one of the visits, our instrumental music students watched a performance by Orion over Zoom. The students listened and watched intently as the Orion artists performed with the artistry they are well known for. After viewing the performance, students enjoyed the opportunity to dialogue with Orion musicians about the music and about their careers as performers.
During a time when young people are starved for authentic, enriching, eye-opening experiences, the Orion partnership has become even more meaningful to our students.