If you’ve been following along with CMA’s 97th season so far, then you’ll know it’s been a fun and exciting time between our various events. From performances by rising stars of chamber music Mixed Media, to the legendary vocal group The Manhattan Transfer, there has been no shortage of talent. As part of our mission to “enrich and educate the Central Iowa community,” all visiting artists have also collaborated with CMA Studio to bring music into local schools.
September 2022: Mixed Media
In September, Fischoff Wind Division Gold Medalists, Mixed Media took on a flurry of educational events. Over their two days in Des Moines, the group visited three different middle schools plus Drake University for performances, clinics and masterclasses. The quartet was received with enthusiasm and excitement from students at Merrill, Harding and Brody Middle Schools. Mixed Media’s unique and captivating take on chamber music was quick to draw in the attention of their young audience members.
On the day of the concert, the ensemble also had the opportunity to coach two saxophone quartets at Drake. As recent college graduates, the group members were able to provide musical insight, while also keeping it fun and relaxed. The collegiate saxophonists were quick to impress their coaches, as they played their pieces with dexterity and passion after having their music for only three weeks. Mixed Media also had a chance to play for this group and followed it up with a talkback discussion on the selected pieces. As winners of various chamber ensemble competitions, they were able to provide good advice for the newly formed quartets who may compete in the future.
October 2022: The Manhattan Transfer and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra
In October, we held our largest concert of the year, The Manhattan Transfer featuring the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Both groups had an opportunity to engage with the Des Moines community during their brief 24-hour stay.
TMT members Janis Siegel and Trist Curless worked with three jazz choirs from the Southwestern Community College in Creston, IA. The students had nothing but positive reviews of their experiences working with the vocal superstars. They even received the special offer to watch the group perform later that night at Hoyt Sherman, making for an unforgettable, inspiring day.
Co-Director of The School for Music Vocations at SCC, Dr. Jeremy Fox expressed immense gratitude for the experience.
“A number of our students are aspiring jazz vocalists, and are extremely aware of the rich history of which TMT has been a part,” he said. “The Manhattan Transfer has paved the road that many of our music majors hope to travel, and our students came away from the clinic (and the concert that evening with TMT and DIVA!) buzzing with excitement and inspiration.”
Meanwhile, leader of the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Sherrie Maricle, was joined by Liesl Whitaker at Roosevelt High School. There, the duo coached students in Roosevelt’s jazz program. Similar to TMT clinic, students were excited for the opportunity to work alongside such immense talent while demonstrating their own skills.
November 2022: Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn
In November, Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn visited Hoover High School in Des Moines. During their visit, they introduced students to various elements of music, including opera, dance and the way folk songs work to tie together human emotion, even when spanning continents and cultures. Hundreds of students attended the event, and questions ranged from “How long have you been playing your instrument?” (Fei began her musical journey at the age of 2!) to “How can I make money in the music industry?”
Learning about American and Chinese musical traditions and just how beautifully they can be weaved together was a magical, ethereal experience.
As the season continues, our team is excited for the remaining CMA Studio events. As long as we continue making music accessible in our community, then we know we are fulfilling our mission.
Be sure to check out our gallery of pictures from the events we’ve had so far!