Highlights From the Solebury Music Program

Cathy Block

The music department has been busy! Busy putting out product, meeting notable musicians, and challenging our students in new and interesting ways. I’d like to take you on a brief music tour and offer you a window into what we’ve done during the winter trimester and what we are looking forward to debuting in the spring.

Chorus, Diversity Culture Ensemble, and Elite Ensemble came together to film a moving rendition of A Change Is Gonna Come. Some of our students filmed themselves from their home in China! It’s amazing what we can do with today’s technology. Greg Lipscomb and Phyllis Arnold worked together on this project along with Film Department Head, Brian Pearson. The result of this collaboration was a very effective and emotive piece. Coming soon from Chorus, Elite Ensemble, and Dance is another collaboration—the entire children's opera Brundibar. They’ve already completed filming, and are currently finishing up their recordings. Additionally, Chorus also recorded We Want Peace. Please stay tuned for these projects. 

Meanwhile, you can watch A Change Is Gonna Come here

Jazz Roots Ensemble and Rock Band focused on recording and putting out covers. Each song had an assigned producer who would lay down a basic track to share with the rest of the band. The band would then send their recorded tracks to the producer to assemble, do any requested fixes, mix the track, and send it back to me. We also teamed up with students in the art department who provided fun cover art for the record. To date, we have released three covers with more to come. 

Rock Band is awesome because you get to collaborate and jam with other kids. Cathy is a master in arrangement and performance so she always has something we can work on and has incredibly fun and innovative ideas. While we were remote due to COVID, we started recording covers and I was one of the “producers” for the group. It was a really cool experience. I’m really into music production and audio engineering so for me this was just another way to practice and get better at it. —Dylan McNulty ’22 

You can check out our releases here

Jazz Roots also released their show, Jazz Roots: A Tribute To Duke Ellington. We had such a great time making this “TV special” which aired on February 19 as a Youtube premier. The show featured a selection of Duke’s songs and was interspersed with little intimate segments of members from the band speaking about Duke Ellington or sharing their personal take on the song. We teamed up with the film department for this project and I feel lots of gratitude there because I know we gave Edward Wu ’21 many hours of editing work. 

You can catch the show here.

And WOW the musicians we’ve Zoomed with! We had some incredible experiences with artists. First up was a Zoom with Grammy-winner, and massive talent, Jacob Collier. Next was a Zoom with pop recording artist, Sammy Rae (at the time Rock Band was working on one of her songs so students were pretty pumped to speak with her). We ended our special artist meet-ups with recording artist and Late Night Show Bandleader, Jon Batiste. Jon sat at a piano during our conversation and provided an impromptu soundtrack to the discussion. I must say all of these artists provided great inspiration and were so generous with their time.

Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming Arts Festival events, including a highly anticipated guest artist on April 20 and our Young Artist Concert on April 21.

The Solebury music program is more inclusive than any other program I’ve been a part of at other schools. I’m really looking forward to being in the Young Artist Series next week. It’s a great opportunity and a great platform for students to showcase their work and share their talent and passion with the community. —Nick Lynch ’21

There you have it. Keeping it current, unique, and always spreading the word of music.