John Adams’ Sympatico Students Compose New Work

Students in Alexandria Symphony’s Sympatico program at John Adams Elementary School are composing their own original work as part of a week-long intensive workshop this week.

Music-making with Sympatico is a daily affair at John Adams Elementary School, but during the week of February 20, students will take their music-making to a whole new level in a week-long intensive workshop.

Based on the theme ‘Where are you going?’ the students will compose original compositions under the guidance of outside teaching artists, who are experts in composition and music-making. All five of Sympatico’s ensembles—JABBA (Bucket Band), Singing Eagles (chorus), Keetman (Intermediate Orff), Introductory Orff, and Strings at Sunrise (strings)—will participate in the composition and performance of the finished work. All Kindergarten students will also contribute to this group.

This is the most exciting part of their year. When our students participate in this project, they develop a deep sense of pride for the part they play in their ensembles. They love taking responsibility for creating new music. Our students even thank us for having a full day of rehearsal on a school holiday,” said Sympatico Program Director Emily Smith.

Students devoted President’s Day as well as the regular daily Sympatico before- and after-school classes for the rest of the week to the workshop activities. Students will provide ideas for melody, rhythm and use of instruments to create a collaborative work. The finished pieces will culminate in a special school performance this Friday, February 24 at 6:00 PM at John Adams, featuring all 120 students from Sympatico.

The teaching artists conducting the workshop are members of Creative Connections, led by Sympatico’s Program consultant, Daniel Trahey. Trahey is founder of Baltimore Symphony’s acclaimed OrchKids program, serving thousands in Baltimore City Public Schools and growing each year. OrchKids is considered a national model for helping at-risk youth, and the ASO mirrored Sympatico after this program, with Trahey’s leadership from its inception.

Launched in 2013, ASO Sympatico is a before and after-school music program at John Adams Elementary School underwritten by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. In its third full school year, the award-winning program inspired by the El Sistema method serves 120 students, every school day, Monday through Friday. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade are eligible to participate in the five ensembles, free of charge.

ACPS, John Adams