To expand upon its mission of service, CU Winds, the Wind Ensembles of Cornell University, will add a domestic service component to their work during the Fall Semester of 2008. Using the Costa Rica Project as a model, the CU Winds will reach out to the inner city schools of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in an attempt to play a role in an arts revival project that began in there two years ago.

Philadelphia Tour: November 16-18, 2008

Since 2006, the CU Winds Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Cynthia Johnston Turner, has made bi-annual trips to Costa Rica on a mission of service, as well as musical and cultural sharing. The purpose of this trip is two-fold; to bring to people in the most rural areas of Costa Rica a sampling of American music making, and to open the eyes of the students of Cornell University to the needs of communities outside our own. Using a musical tour as the medium, this experience means to change the lives of the Cornell students and instill them with an understanding of the importance of service and sharing by those who are most capable and most fortunate. Each of these missions brought to the schools of Costa Rica used instruments collected by the students of the CU Winds, refurbished by Hickey’s Music in Ithaca, New York, for use by the students in Costa Rica, in schools where not enough instruments were available for all those students interested in learning.

The 2008 tour to Costa Rica saw a great expansion of the project that allowed the students of Cornell to reach out to schools in three different communities. A momentum now clearly exists for this project. The students of the CU Winds collected more instruments than could possibly be taken along to Costa Rica on this 2008 tour. More students became actively involved in the project including members of the CU Winds Symphony, taking an active role both in collecting instruments and materials for the project, as well involvement in the behind-the-scenes administrative work preparing for the January 2008 Tour. This expanded interest and forward momentum has lead to the expansion of this service project, to include domestic schools with needs that mirror those of the Costa Rican schools. This domestic extension of the service project will also allow for the active involvement of students of both ensembles of the CU Winds, further sharing this mission of service and opening the eyes of even more Cornell University students to the needs of those less fortunate than themselves.

To fulfill this mission, the Cornell University Wind Ensembles will travel to Philadelphia for a three-day service and performance tour, in an attempt to help maintain the momentum created by the Philadelphia Division of Comprehensive Arts Education. Our three-day tour will include a full day of workshops, master classes and rehearsals with the young instrumental students of the Philadelphia School District. Dr. Dennis Creedon, Visual and Performing Arts Administrator for the Philadelphia School District, has kindly offered to arrange for the gathering of instrumental music students from two North Philadelphia Middle Schools at the Philadelphia School District Administration Building where this interaction of musical sharing can take place. This meeting, scheduled to occur on Monday, November 17 will include rehearsal time of a “Grand Band” of musicians from the both the Cornell Wind Ensembles and the Philadelphia School District for the premiere of a large-scale work commissioned for just this occasion. The concert offered that evening at the Creative and Performing Arts High School of Philadelphia will feature performances of each of Cornell’s Wind Ensembles, selections by ensembles of the Philadelphia School District, as well as this “Grand Band” and will be open and free to the public.

Tuesday, November 18 will include visits by the Cornell Ensembles to Grover Washington Middle School and Conwell Middle School. These visits will allow for a reunion of the students of these schools with the Cornell musicians from the prior day and allow Cornell to offer a school-wide assembly and concert to enrich the musical experience of the students in these schools. More importantly, these visits will deepen the transformation and education of our students, making them more aware of the daily lives of students in schools different from those that they attended.

CU Winds is actively seeking support and donations for this project and the on-going Costa Rica project. There are more students in need then the instruments CU Winds has to provide. In addition to instruments, accessories such as sheet music, reeds, mouthpieces, cleaning supplies, neck-straps, and mutes are also greatly appreciated.

For more information about this or other projects by the CU Winds of Cornell University, please contact Cynthia Johnston-Turner (cpj6 {at} cornell(.)edu), Director of Wind Ensembles or Matthew M. Marsit (mmm326 {at} cornell(.)edu), Assistant Director of Wind Ensembles. Thank you for taking the time to learn about the CU Winds Philadelphia Project. If you are in the area, please come to our concert on Monday, November 17, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. held in the Creative and Performing Arts High School, 901 South Broad Street, Philadelphia (215-400-5974). Admission is free.

CU Winds Tour Schedule

Monday, November 17, 2008

10:00AM-3:00PMWorkshops and Rehearsal with the students of Grover Washington and Conwell Middle Schools
Hosted by the School District of Philadelphia
440 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia

7:30PM – Joint Concert of CU Winds and Middle School Students
Creative and Performing Arts High School
901 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia
Admission is Free and Open to the Public
Donations accepted at the door to benefit music programs in the Philadelphia Schools
Concert Poster [PDF]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

9:30AM – Assembly Presentation at Grover Washington Middle School
201 E. Olney Avenue, Philadelphia