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Case's Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony tours England, Scotland

Musicians from Cleveland Youth Winds Symphony I and II
Musicians from Cleveland Youth Winds
Symphony I and II at Severance Hall

Scotland and England—get ready for a musical treat. Flying to the British Isles are talented Cleveland area musicians from the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony under the direction of Gary Ciepluch, Case Western Reserve University director of bands and music education. Approximately 95 members of the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphonies I and II, along with Case music students, will play in cathedrals, outdoor venues and concert halls during the group's sixth international tour, June 15-27.

The Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, established in 1989 by Ciepluch and Robert McAllister, is sponsored by Case and the Cleveland Institute of Music. The enthusiasm of the high school and some middle school students for playing challenging repertoire prompted Ciepluch to expand the original symphony to a second winds symphony during the 1995-96 school year. The touring symphony is comprised of members from each group.

Ciepluch said the symphonic experience gives students an opportunity to play significant musical works with their talented peers and provides a supplement to their high school music experience (all students are required to play in a school band or symphony) and not a substitute for that experience.

Approximately 450 students audition each year for a seat in either the 120-member Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony I or II. Students begin rehearsing every Saturday at Case or the Cleveland Institute of Music in the fall for concert performances in winter and spring. In the past, the orchestras have performed at Severance Hall, with additional listening audiences through concert broadcasts on WCLV-FM, Cleveland's classical music radio station.

In 1994, Ciepluch took the group on its first international tour to Germany. Since the first tour, the symphony has traveled and performed in Denmark, Norway and Sweden (1996); Germany, Switzerland and Italy (1998); Australia (2000); and Ireland and France (2003).

The musicians will depart from Cleveland, June 15, and arrive in Glasgow, Scotland for some sightseeing before they head to Inverness for their first concert on June 17. The youth symphony will team up with their British Isle peers for the following concerts:

  • Inverness, June 17, with the Highlands School Wind Band in the Town Square
  • West Lothian (Edinburgh), June 19, The West Lothian Schools Wind Ensemble
  • York, June 21, at York Minister, the largest gothic church north of the Alps and home to the largest collection of stained-glass in Britain
  • London, June 24, with the Basingstoke Area Wind Band at Anvil Hall
  • London, June 26, St. Paul's Cathedral, to accompany the evening service

Accompanying the musicians will be approximately 30 parents who will be able to listen to their children's music in these new musical venues. Also working with the students will be Case music majors, who will perform as well as chaperone, the high school musicians.

"This can be a life-changing experience," said Ciepluch. In non-speaking English countries the students have stayed with families, which has blossomed into more than a love of music but romantic love and marriages. It also has instilled a sense of travel abroad for some students, whom Ciepluch says, see how people are more alike than they ever realized.

But one thing most students come realize, according to Ciepluch, is that "music and smiles" can unite people around the world.

Tour venues can vary from lofty indoor cathedrals that call for a certain kind of music to the more robust sounds of marches for outdoor performances.

While each trip creates its own memories, one of the more touching ones was playing on the monument between the bells at Normandy before an audience of American veterans.

 

About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.