Solebury School offers a comprehensive music program that includes Chorus, Universal Music Ensemble, Jazz Roots Ensemble, and Rock Band. Additionally, Solebury offers some very current, unique and cutting edge music electives: Song Writing, Music, That Universal Language (this is a unique approach to rhythm and harmony), Indie Music And How It Is Reshaping The Music World, Music of the 1960's, The Greatest Bands Of All Time, and Gamelan. The Introduction to the Arts course for middle school students includes a semester of music theory and performance.
Private music lessons on campus are also offered to our students. Our music students perform for the school community four times during the year, and also have the opportunity to perform in several other venues.
Meet the Music Department Staff
Director: Phyllis Arnold
Many students who have never sung a note find enjoyment in singing with the chorus and trying something new. Students are encouraged to learn how to read music and understand intervals during warm ups. They then learn new music in small group sectional rehearsals and come together at least once a week to practice as a whole chorus. The chorus has many opportunities to perform live, in venus such as the Trenton Thunder or Philadelphia 76er's games, the Lambertville Winter Festival, Cabaret Night, Solebury School's Graduation and four concerts at the school, all of which are open to the public. The program is choral-based, with emphasis on a full harmonic sound. Several students have been selected for Bucks County Music Educator's Association County Chorus over the past ten years. In addition, several of our alumni have gone on to study music in college.
Universal Music Ensemble
Director: Gregory Lipscomb
Across the Universe Ensemble is designed for both instrumentalists and singers. Singer/songwriters, as well as classically trained musicians, are encouraged to participate. Students are expected to read music and have a basic command of their instruments/voices.
There is the opportunity to perform original works as well as other music of various styles. Students learn to stretch themselves across different styles as they study the art of playing together as a musical team, both rhythmically and harmonically. Also, each student is encouraged to develop his/her sight-reading and ear-training skills.
Students perform at least four times throughout the school year, a concert at the end of each trimester, and a winter holiday concert. Additionally, students are often asked to perform at a variety of other school functions, including open houses, the annual dinner auction, graduation, and other special events.
Jazz Roots Ensemble
Director: Cathy Block
This ensemble plays jazz or jazz influenced music, but is not limited to that genre. We have played everything from Miles Davis to Ingrid Michaelson, as well as original works by our band members. We are an instrumental and vocal group. Improvisation, listening, ear development, and playing as a tight unit are key in this class. We perform feature evening concerts, as well as making school assembly appearances.
Director: Cathy Block
Rock Band is a class that is devoted solely to playing and performing Rock Music. We play current as well as classic Rock. This group includes instrumentalists as well as vocalists. We perform evening feature concerts, and also assemblies for Solebury. Our concerts are fun, loud, and usually get the crowd dancing. Students have a hand in picking our set lists, and generally everyone has a chance to be featured in some way.
Director: Noah Jarrett
Gamelan Studies is a class that explores all aspects of the ancient orchestral traditions of Indonesia. Students will not only investigate Indonesian culture, art, and musical heritage, but they will learn side by side, in a hands-on way, how to play this beautiful and meditative music. They will compose their own songs (gendhing) based on the gamelan tradition; participate in a sonic experiment, in which groups of 2-3 students will locate resonating ‘found’ objects, (such as metal, bottles filled with water, etc.) create a scale, and then create a piece of music utilizing these objects. A trip and recording at Ringing Rocks will also be included in one of the 2012-2013 trimesters.
All students will leave the trimester with a solid concept and know-how about how gamelan, and each instrument’s role within the gamelan, works together to create this unworldly music.
Private Music Lessons
As a service to students, the music department has arranged for outside music teachers to come to Solebury School to provide private lessons for students. These lessons are at the students' expense and are scheduled during the students' free periods and after school. At the moment, lessons are offered in piano, voice, trumpet, flute, violin, viola, guitar, bass guitar, string bass, saxophone, and drums. A list of music instructors is available upon request.