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The Visionary FWCS public newsletter
Welcome to The FWCS Visionary: A public blog and monthly newsletter brought to you by the Public Affairs Department and designed to provide you with news about Fort Wayne Community Schools. This is the inaugural year for this new information outlet and, as such, it may change shape and form as it grows into a resource we hope you find useful and fun. If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in the outlet, please contact Public Affairs. We would be thrilled to hear what you want to see.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Club O musicians perform in concert

It all came down to this one night for about 100 third- through fifth-grade students from three Fort Wayne elementary schools.

This evening, April 12, 2018, was their night to shine as new violinists in Club Orchestra, a collaboration between FWCS and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Club O is also part of El Sistema, a world movement using music to transform children’s lives and communities.

Before families and supporters packed the Wayne High School auditorium, they gathered in the parking lot to grab something to eat from Bravas and Big Apple Pizza food trucks.  Bravas had been one of the snack donors throughout the months the Club O musicians were in training.

“We wanted the kids to feel special,” said Jim Palermo, the Philharmonic’s managing director.

And, they nailed it, according to Aaron Samra, program manager for the Philharmonic. Samra is a former FWCS music teacher.

“I think we were successful in this pursuit,” he said in an email. “After the concert, I witnessed many happy students sharing their joy with their families and friends. We had almost everyone in attendance and they all gave 110 percent in their playing, watching the conductors and listening to their peers.”

Club O students wait for their performance

Club O performers wait for the evening to begin

Performers and their supporters wait for food from a food truck

Above and below: performers and concert goers wait to order food from the two food trucks on the scene

Concertgoers and performers wait for pizza from a food truck

Club O students stand to perform

Club O performers prepare to play their first song of the night

The kids received Club O T-shirts, there were printed programs and, at the end of the evening, they performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Finale, Ode to Joy, with members of the Philharmonic and the Youth Symphony Orchestra.

In just a few months’ time, from the day they signed up for Club O, these hundred kids (from Forest Park, South Wayne and Waynedale elementary schools) showed up and put in the work three evenings a week. They practiced at home. They committed to becoming violinists.

Prior to the performances on April 12, Samra stood up and spoke to the audience. He thanked the families in attendance.

“It was a joy to see how many students said they loved taking their instruments home to play (for family),” he said. “It was a joy to see how much you indulged their endeavor.”

Also among those thanked were District administrators, the music educators, the Philharmonic members who went out to the schools three days a week and the sponsors (the Edward D. and Ione Auer Foundation, Rea Charitable Trust and an anonymous donor, plus Bravas, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell).

With the speaking out of the way, it was concert time for these Club O musicians.

They played two arrangements by the Philharmonic’s Violist Derek Reeves: Cornstalk Tune and Mary Had a Little Lamb; then moved on to Frere Jacques; and finished with Twinkle Variations.

The audience then heard performances by the Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonic performed three songs before all three sets of musicians joined for the finale.

“I am still stunned at the sound they played in the short amount of time they learned their instrument,” Samra said. “The final piece with the Philharmonic was breathtaking.”

From here, the fifth-graders in the program will move on to middle school, and continue their lessons.

Third- and fourth-graders will move on to the next phase of the program and Club O will accept new third- through fifth-grade students at the same three schools, Samra said.

“This is another wonderful occurrence the partnership the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and FWCS produces,” Samra said. “It is great that both sides are doing all they can to give these students the best possible chance for success and give praise and recognition when it is due.”

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