NEWS FROM THE VSSGW
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Provides
Professional Development for Teachers
String instrument teachers from the Williamsburg-James City County school system recently participated in a professional development day in which members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra provided coaching on techniques which the teachers can pass on to their students. This was the first time that this type of professional development was offered to the school system by the VSO, and it was enthusiastically received by the teachers from three high schools, two middle schools, and five grade schools.
This in-service day lasted six hours and it qualified for staff development credit for the teachers. Teachers rotated through sessions with VSO musicians on the violin, viola, cello and bass. Although each teacher is an accomplished musician with proficiency on a specific string instrument, they teach all orchestral string instruments. These instruments vary in size and physical characteristics, and the differences are reflected in how each is held and played. The VSO musicians provided the teachers with “hands on” tips on techniques for playing the instruments which the teachers can use to frame their instruction, to critique their students, and to help them improve their performance ability.
In a brief interview, John Rasky, Coordinator of Fine Arts for WJCC schools, spoke of the enthusiasm with which the music teachers approach their work, their self-motivation, and how effectively they communicate with one another to share ideas. He emphasized their continued dedication to learning and improving their skills for the sake of their students, and he expects they will quickly assimilate the quality professional development they received from VSO musicians. This year, the Williamsburg-James City County School Division was honored as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. Less than 4 percent of school districts nationally received this honor.
These educational activities are funded in part by the generous fundraising of the Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg, which also provides volunteer support for the VSO. Further support for all the VSO’s Williamsburg activities is provided by the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission and the Williamsburg Community Foundation. The King of Glory Lutheran Church hosted the event and generously donated use of its classrooms. Dr. Christina Havens, VSO Director of Education and Community Engagement, organized and facilitated the event. In the spring of 2017, VSO musicians will return to present workshops for band and orchestra students at Jamestown, Warhill and Lafayette high schools.
VSSGW Presents $55,000 Check to
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
For the ninth straight year, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) opened its Williamsburg concert season with a free performance at the amphitheater at Lake Matoaka, located on the campus of the College of William and Mary. Under the baton of the Symphony’s Resident Conductor, Benjamin Rous, the Orchestra performed a variety of classical and contemporary music which was intended to give the audience a preview of selections that the Symphony will be performing during its 2016 – 2017 Season. Williamsburg concerts are held at Phi Beta Kappa Hall on the College campus, and also at CrossWalk Community Church.
Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg President Barbara Vollmer welcomed the Orchestra and, together with longtime supporter and VSSGW Founder Mr. Bert Aaron, presented Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chair Patrick B. McDermott with a check for $55,000 to support the VSO. The funds were proceeds from the 2016 VSSGW Annual Gala held earlier this year.
2016 Member of the Year
The Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg honored Rick Overy with its Member of the Year Award at its 2016 annual meeting. He has been a strong supporter of the VSSGW and has donated his services as auctioneer at the VSSGW’s annual gala for six years. "His efforts have helped in raising over $150,000 for the VSSGW in its support of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra" noted past recipient Judi Woods. The money helps to fund Virginia Symphony activities in Williamsburg, such as the School/Orchestra Artistic Residency program (SOAR) in which VSO musicians coach local high school musicians.
Rick, a Williamsburg resident for over 30 years, holds a degree in Finance from the College of William and Mary and served as Associate Dean of the School of Law. He serves on the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority and the Williamsburg/JCC Library Foundation Board. Professionally, he is a Financial Advisor and co-founder of Compass Wealth Strategies.
2016 Gala Benefits the Virginia Symphony
The Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg’s 2016 annual gala in support of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra recently took place at The Two Rivers Country Club. The Gala, which grossed $86,000, honored long-time Symphony supporters Gail and Gary King.
The entertainment focus of this year’s gala was the music of Benny Goodman and the big band era. Sal Andolina, a virtuoso clarinetist and saxophonist, and national touring artist who appeared with the Virginia Symphony in 2015, was the featured artist for the event.
2016 GALA PHOTOS
(Note: if you do not have a Flickr account, you will be prompted to create a free account in order to be able to see and download images. 102 photos are posted.)
Special thanks to our 2016 Gala Benefit Corporate Sponsors!
VSO Musicians Coach Students
The Virginia Symphony Orchestra recently brought its School/Orchestra Artistic Residency (SOAR) program to three Williamsburg high schools. Five VSO musicians coached and performed as a group at Jamestown, Lafayette, and Warhill High Schools. This is the third year that the VSO has provided students with the opportunity to meet and learn from professional musicians. Students were broken into small groups to receive coaching, and then reassembled to perform a musical selection.
SOAR matches VSO musicians with local schools.
This program, for the Williamsburg schools, is underwritten by the Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg. Pictured is VSO violinist Seiko Syvertsen who instructed Jamestown High School students.
For further information please contact Christina Havens, the VSOs Director of Education and Community Engagement at email@example.com or 757-213-1421.