| A Community-Involving Program for Today's Orchestras
The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra performs Westwater's "Bravo Boulder!," a piece of photochoreography commissioned by the orchestra to honor the nonprofits and volunteers making a difference in Boulder, CO.
If today's orchestras are to be truly vital in their communities, it is important for them to reflect the lives and concerns of the people they serve. Westwater photochoreography offers a community-involving program with two unique options that are especially well suited to help orchestras meet this challenge, particularly with previously untapped audiences.
Kids, Cameras and Classics™ (KCC) and Community, Cameras and Classics™ (CCC) are creative, hands-on and fun ways to add community relevance, reach new audiences, foster organizational partnerships, attract funding and strengthen the perception of your orchestra as a valued cornerstone in your community. The principal difference with these two options is the source of the photographs—kids or the community at large.
Nearly 50 orchestras have used James Westwater’s photochoreography to put their communities at center stage, including the principal orchestras of:
- Long Beach
- San Antonio
- South Arkansas
- Springfield (OH)
- St. Paul
See the "Springfield Symphony Orchestra" section (lower center column) for a prime example of how photochoreography can connect an orchestra with its community.
1. Kids, Cameras and Classics
was the best educational concert we've ever done." —Chair, Baltimore Symphony Education Committee
Baltimore Symphony performs a Westwater KCC piece.
KCC puts cameras in the hands of both children and adolescents, encouraging them to make photographs—most often of family, friends and neighbors; neighborhoods, heritage and culture; interests and values; beauty and themselves. Kids can also make photographs reflecting an understanding of musical ideas, concepts and principles.
Grandfather and granddaughter living on an farm in Iowa. A "kid's" photo included in a Westwater KCC piece created for the Des Moines Symphony.
KCC expands your orchestra's educational outreach efforts by engaging young people with classical music and your orchestra in an exciting, kid-friendly way. KCC is also empowering, skill-developing, collaborative and popular with sponsors.
To see sample photos created through KCC, click here.
• Long Beach Symphony Orchestra
Building self esteem: a young photographer proudly stands beside his photograph that "made the cut" for the KCC piece and was experienced by thousands of people in his community while a full symphony orchestra performed the selected classical score.
The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra commissioned Westwater Arts to create a piece of KCC photochoreography made exclusively with photographs by 13,500 local fourth and fifth graders.
The theme for the new piece was "Long Beach Through the Eyes of Its Children." Under then Musical Director JoAnn Falletta, the piece was performed for a series of educational and classics concerts. The performances introduced young audience members to classical music in a fun and engaging way while honoring the children, their creative spirits, their communities and their families.
"The experience we just had at the LBSO with James Westwater was one of joy and upliftment. It was a week to remember as 21,000 greater Long Beach residents experienced his exquisite work together with our orchestra." —Priscilla Munson, Artistic Director, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra
2. Community, Cameras and Classics
"It attracted funding, it brought student and professional photographers into a collaboration with each other... and it brought crowds into the concert hall for a celebration of their community. We score this project an unqualified success." —
Brooke Creswell, Music Director and Conductor, Yakima Symphony Orchestra
The YSO got excellent media coverage for their community-engaging concert that brought in 1,500 photo submissions from Yakima-area residents.
CCC is another highly effective way to create a lively connection between your orchestra and your community. This option is similar to KCC except the photographers are any and all members of your community, from the young to the elderly, amateurs and professionals alike... everyone is invited to submit new and/or existing photographs about their lives and surroundings.
To see sample photos created through CCC, click here.
3. How KCC and CCC work
Local Heroes: a photo submitted by an elementary school student for a CCC piece performed during the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's annual Martin Luther King, Jr., tribute concert.
For both options, the concert theme(s) can be whatever your orchestra thinks is most appropriate. You and James Westwater work together to find the subject(s) that will spark people’s imaginations.
Your orchestra collects the digital photo submissions and forwards them onto Westwater Arts, which in turn choreographs them to a piece of classical music pre-selected by your conductor and James Westwater.
Upon completion, the new local photochoreography piece is performed by your orchestra and James Westwater. The participants as well as many other community members get to see the photographs they made, while images of people and places they recognize flow across a 440 square foot panoramic screen as they experience—often for the first time—the beauty of a live orchestral performance.
Additionally, KCC and CCC are great ways to partner with K-12 schools, museums, cultural and ethnic centers, local historical societies, social service nonprofits, science centers, zoos and aquariums, colleges, hospitals, libraries, local businesses, other arts organizations, and more.
• Springfield Symphony Orchestra
"'Growing Together' was one of the most innovative and synergetic vehicles for community involvement that I have ever encountered in the concert hall. From inception to performance, the work created enthusiastic interest and support for the orchestra from previously untapped resources. ... 'Growing Together' set a high benchmark for audience development and community involvement that is still talked about in our community." —Peter Stafford Wilson, Music Director and Conductor
Peter Stafford Wilson conducts the Springfield Symphony Orchestra's premiere of Our Fields, Farms and Families, a Westwater CCC piece.
In a concert that epitomized community involvement and innovative partnerships, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (OH) came together with The Ohio State University College of Agriculture, the Cooperative Extension Service, the Clark County Farm Bureau, the local 4-H and FFA clubs and the Springfield Historical Society to present the first-ever classical concerts devoted entirely to agriculture and rural life.
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Photochoreography engagements include the principal orchestras of Cleveland, Toronto, Pittsburgh,
Seattle, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Dallas, Vancouver, Baltimore, Milwaukee,
Detroit, Cincinnati, Saint Paul, Indianapolis, Houston, Portland,
Denver, Saint Louis, Columbus, Rochester, Buffalo, Salt Lake City, Singapore and Scotland, plus over 150more >
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Springfield continued >>
For the concerts, James Westwater
created three new pieces of CCC and KCC photochoreography from images made by local farmers, kids and area photographers. Funding for "Agriculture and the Arts: Growing Together" came in part from a $106,000 competitive grant from a surprising source: the U.S. Department of Agriculture!
Extraordinary media coverage included articles in 52 newspapers throughout the U.S., coverage by U.S. Farm Report—the major national television program serving agricultural communities, the Paul Harvey Show—a nationally syndicated radio program and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Requests for a DVD of the concert came from as far away as Japan.
A student photographer makes a photo of farm activity for the CCC piece performed with the Springfield Symphony.
"When maestro Peter Stafford Wilson asked all past and present members of 4-H and FFA to stand, more than half the capacity audience in [the] auditorium rose to its feet...The community's response was strongly positive. Listeners flocked to the [hall], necessitating an added performance yesterday afternoon. ...Westwater, the orchestra and its music director brought off the premiere without a hitch to the full enjoyment of an enthralled audience." –The Columbus Dispatch
Click here to see sample photos made for this project.
• Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Volunteers lending a helping hand—a photo included in the Boulder Philharmonic’s special CCC concert honoring the unsung service-minded heroes in its community.
The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra saluted the unsung heroes of Boulder's nonprofit organizations by engaging Westwater Arts to create a new CCC photochoreography piece titled "Bravo Boulder!" Eleven nonprofits, including the Boulder County AIDS Project and the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, submitted photographs featuring over 300 staff and volunteers helping in the community as well as those being served. The highly successful concert also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the orchestra's beautiful hall at the University of Colorado and was sponsored by Colorado Creative Industries, Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, and the Boulder Arts Commission.
This unique community collaboration is featured in the November/December 2010 issue of SYMPHONY magazine.
"Our 'Heroes' concert was an excellent example of what we mean when we say that we are not merely an orchestra in Boulder, but rather 'Boulder's orchestra.' It demonstrated not only our commitment to offering ways to enhance and deepen the impact of a musical experience, but also our determination to reflect our community's spirit of discovery and civic-mindedness…I always imagined that Copland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man' was meant to celebrate exactly this kind of social service, and to see it brought to life so vividly and sensitively was a special thrill…All in all, a great evening that connected on all fronts: the mind and the heart, the eyes and the ears. Bravo, James Westwater!" —Michael Butterman, Music Director and Conductor, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra