The Oregon Symphony's commitment to community engagement brings orchestra musicians to a variety of locations and performances. On this page we document these encounters with words and pictures.
Rosa Parks' BRAVO Youth Orchestra perform with the Oregon Symphony
VIDEO: Oregon Symphony with
Rosa Parks BRAVO Orchestra
On Thursday, February 12th, students and parents from Rosa Parks School gathered in the gymnasium at the Charles Jordan Community Center to enjoy a first-ever concert by the visiting Oregon Symphony. The first three selections – Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, alongside works by Haydn and Hindemith – demonstrated music’s ability to illustrate a story, and the children of the audience alternately trembled, laughed, or clapped along as they followed each evocative scene.
But it was far more than just a concert.
And that was evident when the 24 3rd and 4th grade musicians from Rosa Parks’ own BRAVO Youth Orchestra stepped onto the stage to perform side by side with the Oregon Symphony.
In honor of both Black History Month and El Sistema’s 40th anniversary, BRAVO string players kept beautiful pace with the Symphony, accompanying soloists in José White Lafitte’s “La Bella Cubana” and performing Louise Shropshire’s arrangement of “We Shall Overcome.” As the young musicians stood to sing a rousing verse of this traditional anthem, audience members of all ages stood to join them in song. The audience left inspired, not only by the stirring performance, but also by the power of music to encourage young people to succeed.
This concert could not have been made possible without collaboration between the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and President Scott Showalter, BRAVO Executive Director Seth Truby, and Rosa Parks School Principal Tamala Newsome. Supt. Carole Smith was in attendance and gave praises to all who work hard in the schools and communities to keep the arts a central part of our lives and in the curriculum.
Thanks to the following major supporters, without which these programs out in the community would not exist: The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation, The Oregon Community Foundation, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
Oregon Symphony President, Scott Showalter, and Bravo Youth Orchestra conductor, Mark Woodward, chat as the audience from Rosa Parks Elementary arrives.
The students and staff of Rosa Parks Elementary were treated to a very special concert arranged just for them. Guests were invited from the community as were donors for education programs at the Oregon Symphony.
The audience was so attentive and curious about the music and the outcome of the classic, “Peter and the Wolf”.
Cellist Emily Hu flanked by the Bravo cellists in the side by side pieces prepared especially for this concert.
Bassist Ted Botsford and his stand partner Brent, who took it all in the entire time and was so welcoming when the orchestra came to his school.
The Bravo and OSO cello section is all smiles after a very successful concert. Bravo Executive Director, Seth Truby, and Oregon Symphony President, Scott Showalter, couldn’t be more proud of the musicians of both orchestras.
OSO violist Jen Arnold fields questions after the concert. Jen has been a frequent visitor to the Bravo orchestra rehearsals, offering coaching help.
Portland Public Schools Supt. Carole Smith and Rosa Parks Principal Tamala Newsome welcome the students and guests before the concert. Supt. Smith commended the Oregon Symphony on their strong partnership with and mentorship of the Bravo Youth Orchestra musicians.
Resident Conductor Paul Kim was very pleased with the attentiveness and preparedness of the Bravo players.
Narrator Pam Mahon led us through Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” and introduced the different characters to the audience.
Violinists Emily Cole and Erin Furbee were joined by the Bravo violinists in the final two pieces of the concert. All said how great it was to play together and look forward to the next opportunity.
The Oregon Symphony Takes a Holiday Concert to Prison and
Comes Away with The Biggest Gift of All.
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility inmates
(from L) Patricia Phillips, Niela Shamsid-deen,
Patricia Butterfield, Christina Skallerude,
Lakhana Ingram and Amy Tyson sing along
to Christmas tunes performed by an
Oregon Symphony quintet Dec. 9.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO:
JOSH KULLA - (More photos)
President Scott Showalter introduced the group—trumpeters Jeff Work and Dave Bamonte, trombonist Dan Cloutier, French hornist Joe Berger, Ja’Ttik Clark on the tuba and percussionist Sergio Carreno—and turned the evening over to an emcee none other than the NBA Hall of Famer, former TrailBlazers broadcasting legend Bill Schonely.
And the place was instantly transformed.
“The Little Drummer Boy” led into a parade of Christmas favorites—“Santa Baby,” tunes from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and plenty of others. The audience swayed to the tunes, applauded uproariously, and sang heartily during a rousing sing-along medley.
One audience member said it best: “What a wonderful thing to bring to this cold, dark place.”
During the question-and-answer session, someone asked the most poignant question of all. “Why are you here?” John Cox, whose unwavering commitment to this initiative was instrumental in making it a reality, responded. “We’re here because our mission is to serve the community with music. There are many communities to serve, and you are one of them. We wanted to show you that we care about you.”
They then returned to the music and its ability to add joy, make a community, lift spirits during a time of year and in a place where spirits need lifting. After a set list of five popular sing-along carols, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” made a fitting finale, sung by all with unabashed glee.
And while we went to the prison to share music because making music is what we do and because we are determined to make music for audiences as wide and as far as we can, we walked away with the biggest gifts of all. Handshakes, smiles and tears of appreciation.
It simply doesn’t get any better than that.
Photos by Josh Kulla, courtesy of the Pamplin Media Group.
Want to see the Wilsonville Spokesman article? Here’s the link:
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Oregon Symphony President Scott Showalter talks with Coffee Creek Correctional Facility inmates during a Dec. 9 holiday concert featuring a Symphony quintet.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Coffee Creek inmates Korena Roberts and Amanda Stott-Smith enjoy a Dec. 9 holiday concert performed by a quintet from the Oregon Symphony.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Oregon Symphony trumpet player Jeff Work takes a solo during a Dec. 9 holiday concert at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Former Portland Trailblazers radio man Bill Schonely (right) listens intently during a Dec. 9 holiday concert by an Oregon Symphony quintet that included tuba player JáTtik Clark (left).
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Coffee Creek Correctional Facility inmates sing along to Christmas tunes performed by an Oregon Symphony quintet Dec. 9.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Oregon Symphony percussionist Sergio Carrena (left) explains his gear to the audience Dec. 9 at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility during a special holiday concert for inmates at Oregon's only women's prison.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Coffee Creek Correctional Facility inmates (from L) Patricia Phillips, Niela Shamsid-deen, Patricia Butterfield, Christina Skallerude, Lakhana Ingram and Amy Tyson sing along to Christmas tunes performed by an Oregon Symphony quintet Dec. 9.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Coffee Creek Correctional Facility inmates Ashley Adams and Whitney Engstrom sing along to Christmas tunes performed by an Oregon Symphony quintet Dec. 9.
Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Oregon Symphony percussionist Sergio Carrena talks with a Coffee Creek inmate at the Dec. 9 Christmas concert performed by an Oregon Symphony quintet.