Waldo’s Hunt for Funk

Medomak students, Portland Jazz Orchestra team up for March 21 concert

Posted:  Monday, March 17, 2014 - 11:30am

WALDOBORO — Students at Medomak Valley High School and Middle School are tuning their instruments and gearing up to play with the Portland Jazz Orchestra for a special and unique concert that features the composition of the students themselves. The concert takes place March 21 in the school’s Ronald Dolloff Auditorium, on Manktown Road in Waldoboro. The public is invited to the concert, which begins at 7 p.m.

The collaboration between Maine’s premiere concert jazz ensemble and Medomak Valley students is the result of efforts by Jennifer Goode, coordinator of Gifted Services at Medomak Middle School and Peter Stuart, Medomak Valley’s band director. The two teamed up and invited Terry White, a retired music educator who lives in Westbrook, to present a composing arrangement workshop with RSU 40 students.

That, in turn, led to the students composing a piece of music that would be performed by the Portland Jazz Orchestra, and ultimately, hosting the orchestra in Waldoboro, where the students would have the chance to hear the composition played by professionals, as well as other pieces.

“Terry brought a wealth of knowledge and information to the students about the actual process that goes into composing or arranging a piece of music,” said Stuart. “We talked at length about various places and events that need and use live music and how that music doesn't just happen. It has to be created by someone. Terry shared examples of his work that he has done for many occasions. We then began the process of creating our own original piece with ideas and assistance from Terry. The students were fully engaged in the process and now have a fun piece that they will be performing with the PJO for the first time at the concert.”

Goode arranged for the workshop with the help of a grant from Target Stores, which focuses on music and the arts in schools.

“We thought that our students would benefit from this since it is an area that we rarely get to explore in our regular music instruction,” said Stuart.

The 10 students are: (Medomak Middle School) Silas Faria, trombone; Tyler Lee, percussion; Rose Hickey, voice; Somerset Ganz, voice; Sophie Robbins, voice; (Medomak Valley High School) Richard Kinney, keyboard; Ollie Brown, saxophone; Amber Hagin, saxophone; Claire Lupien, flute; and Micah Morin, baritone sax.

Their composition has been named “Waldo’s Hunt for Funk.”

The March 21 community concert culminates a process begun last November, when White, who has taught instrumental music for 34 years, arrived in Waldoboro. Now retired from the Cape Elizabeth School District, he is busy composing and arranging for groups through the country. He is the brass arranger for the Colt Cadet drum corps from Dubuque, Iowa, and writes for the Portland Symphony Orchestra, marching bands, ensembles and concert bands.

The concert will allow the students to meet and talk with the Portland musicians. The Portland Jazz Orchestra consists of musicians from throughout New England, many of whom are educators, as well. Members of the orchestra have performed, recorded and toured with Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Bob Mintzer, the Temptations, Roberta Flack, the Artie Shaw Orchestra and Glenn Miller Orchestra.

For more information about the concert, call Goode, 832-5028 or email her, jennifer_goode@msad40.org.