Arts for All, Boston Community, Take Your Seat

Mnozil Brass Astonishes Boston Students

Through the Celebrity Series’ Take Your Seat program, Chris Schroeder, the Executive Director of the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program (JQOP) and quarter-finalist for the 2019 Grammy Music Educator Award brought 30 students and families members from JQOP and the Summer Street Brass Band to the Mnozil Brass: Cirque concert on February 9 at NEC’s Jordan Hall. As a youth orchestra program, the JQOP uses an intensive and unique ensemble-based music curriculum to help Boston Public School children from underserved communities develop musical proficiency, executive functioning, and social-emotional skills necessary to succeed at school and in life. The Summer Street Brass Band draws students from programs similar to JQOP and provides members with performance and teaching opportunities to develop their skills as dynamic performers, educators, entrepreneurial musicians, and compassionate citizens. Even for students who often perform on stage, being in an audience to see some of the world’s leading artists can be an invaluable experience.
Celebrity Series is grateful to our generous individual donors and to First Republic Bank for their ongoing support for Take Your Seat, which has brought tens of thousands of students and families to Celebrity Series performances since the program’s inception.

In this short interview, Chris Schroeder reflects on the concert and the reaction from his students.

Did you or your students know about Mnozil Brass prior to coming to the performance?

I was very familiar with and fan of Mnozil Brass, however, my families and students did not know what to expect. With the help of the Celebrity Series site and linked videos, they were able to get a sense of the group. But, it wasn’t until the end of the first piece of the concert that they had a clear idea of both the virtuosic playing and entertaining visual experience from all members of Mnozil Brass. During the program, it was fun to see families turn to each other with astonishment and joy on their faces from what they were seeing and hearing from the stage.

Was there a favorite moment from the Mnozil Brass concert?

The favorite moment, hands down (or should I say ‘feet up’) was the encore performance that featured trombonist, Leonhard Paul, as he seemingly levitated on stage playing two trombones and two trumpets with both hands and both feet. Even my four-year-old son was rolling with uncontrollable laughter from his seat. Beyond that moment, it was fun to see my students and my son share in a few laughs after the performance as they recalled this silly (and impressive) moment.

Why is it important to bring students to live performances such as Mnozil Brass?

It is so important for young people to be introduced to live performance early and often. The Take Your Seat program from the Celebrity Series of Boston creates opportunities for young people to experience the music industry’s most recognized performing artists in Boston’s most celebrated performance venues. In a day and age where young people are immersed in electronic, highly produced audio recordings, the thrill of seeing and hearing live musicians is always an inspiring and unforgettable experience. What’s more, the social aspect of attending a live performance with friends and strangers alike is always a special experience. Take Your Seat is able to offer enough tickets for our young people and their families to share in these moments and create lasting memories together.

Some of your students will be performing at the South End Stringfest with the Soul Yatra Trio on March 23. What are some things that the Celebrity Series audience should look forward to in that performance?

Three years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Celebrity Series and the Soul Yatra Trio for our first annual Dorchester Stringfest. The chemistry of Shaw Pong Liu, Sandeep Das, and Mike Block on stage as a trio is palpable. However, when you see them interact with young musicians as peers, putting on a collaborative performance, families and general audiences will understand the true power of music performance and importance of investing in collaboration with youth musicians and professional musicians. In addition to the collaboration, the Soul Yatra Trio produces a soundscape like none other with an interactive element that engages and educates their audiences on the instruments and music they perform.

To RSVP to the South End Stringfest, click here.

To learn more about Chris Schroeder, click here.

Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2018-19 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individual donors whose generosity supports our Arts for All! community programs, of which Take Your Seat is a part. We are also grateful to the following corporations, foundations, and government agencies for their support of Arts for All! in the 2018-19 season: the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified Initiative, Boston Cultural Council, The Boston Foundation, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, First Republic Bank, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Outside the Box: A Production of the Boston Arts Summer Institute, Bessie Pappas Charitable Foundation, The Peabody Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, Anonymous, and other generous supporters.

Photos by Robert Torres.

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