Last year we were invited across the pond to share our expertise with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). Artistic Director Sara Lee and Project Leader extraordinaire Nick Hayes showed CSO oboist Lora Schaefer and double-bass player Daniel Armstrong the well-honed ‘Music in Prisons’ approach, working with a group of young men at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Centre to create a set of original new songs and work towards a performance in just six days (a day more than usual!). A small ensemble from the CSO joined the band for the last two days, providing a specially orchestrated accompaniment composed by Nick to complement the four songs written by the group.
The band gave two special performances, with audiences including family members and CSO Music Director, conductor Riccardo Muti. Speaking after the emotional performance, Muti addressed the young men: “The world needs harmony. Music helps us to understand each other’s point of view. This is a wonderful beginning for you and for us.” Riccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The project was such a success that Sara and Nick have been invited to return in March 2014 to work again with the CSO in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall in New York. Sara will be posting regular updates from the project on our Facebook page; to get all the latest, ‘like’ us and follow the unfolding story!
You can hear a short radio piece about last year’s project here.