Sharing Our Stories
With every gift, there is a story that can be told. Through your support of Strathmore, you joined many arts supporters in pledging a promise to promote artistic innovation, enhance educational opportunity, foster partnerships, cultivate creativity, and boost community engagement. Through your support, you have encouraged the exploration of new opportunities, and we are pleased to share with you a few of our favorite highlights from the season.
Creating genre-defying music with hip-hop beats, vocal melody, and innovative use of instruments, Black Violin is the classically trained violin duo of Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester and Wilner “Wil” Baptiste. In November 2016, students, teachers, parents, and music lovers were invited to get a peek inside Black Violin’s creative process and learn techniques that turn instruments into powerful tools of personal expression. The three-day residency included visits to six local schools for demonstrations and workshops in music classes, culminating in a sold-out performance in the Music Center. For the grand finale, 37 students from Strathmore’s Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras joined on stage, adding a dazzling display to the grand finale and creating a memorable goosebump moment that brought the audience to their feet.
Shades of Blues
One of the highlights of the 2016-2017 season is the celebration known as Shades of Blues, where an amazing lineup of artists have taken audiences on a musical journey encapsulating the transformative power of the blues. This season-long festival has offered a taste of everything from gospel blues to country blues, encompassing 16 distinct concert events across Strathmore’s three venues; documentary film screenings; a commissioned work with Gerald Clayton; contemporary visual art exhibits; a robust online education portal; and the series centerpiece -- All Rise. In Wynton Marsalis’s 12-movement masterwork, he draws inspiration from the blues with classical, spiritual, and jazz elements, and Strathmore was pleased to serve as the project’s producer. “To be truly distinctive, to honor the beauty of our venue, and to demonstrate our deep and sincere commitment to the arts, Strathmore must support artists in their most ambitious work.” - Joi Brown, Strathmore’s vice president of programming
Student Concert Series
Last fall, Strathmore enthusiastically welcomed every second and fifth grader in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to the Music Center for our 12th annual Student Concert Series – that’s 24,716 students! Second graders were treated to a classical concert, featuring our partners at the National Philharmonic. Fifth graders experienced Primary Blues, an educational concert about the great American art form that was produced by Strathmore’s own education department in cooperation with MCPS. Each concert is a combination of dynamic performance and educational fun, giving students the opportunity to learn about music from Strathmore’s very own Artists in Residence. For many of these youngsters, this is their first experience seeing professional musicians in a concert-hall setting, leaving a lasting impression of the power of music to both entertain and transform.
East County Initiative
After a triumphant inaugural year, Strathmore’s East County Initiative (ECI) continues to grow and thrive, delivering affordable and sustainable artistic programs to Eastern Montgomery County. The East County Strings Program has grown to include eight middle schools, reaching over 100 students. In only the second year, ECI has expanded to include three new choral programs. We now have a part-time choral coordinator who has built a series of corridor concerts, a world jazz choir, and the Festival of Voices debuting April 29, 2017 at Blake High School. Step Up East County, a partnership between Strathmore and Step Afrika!, brings world-class step instruction to Francis Scott Key Middle School, Paint Branch High School, and Good Hope Union United Methodist Church. In addition to regular step workshops and rehearsals, the program provides transportation and tickets to the Step Afrika! Step Xplosion performance at Strathmore and concludes with a showcase for families in the spring. And ECI is bringing Latin Dance to East County in a collaboration with Baila4Life Afterschool Dance Fund, a preeminent resource for Latin dance instruction in our area. Two new high school teams will be provided with the essential resources they need to prepare for the annual county-wide Latin dance competition. These programs will join the many that have become well known for youth leadership development and the promotion of wellness, heritage, and unity.
We rely on charitable gifts from individuals to sustain and expand our visual and performing arts experiences and arts education programs. Your gift will foster incredible social impact by allowing Strathmore to remain a strong and vibrant resource in your community.