Yellow Barn alumni start work in schools

Thursday September 20, 2012

PUTNEY -- Yellow Barn alumni Greg Beyer, percussion, and Erin Lesser, flute, have returned to Putney this week for the first of three residency visits that will bring them to BUHS and Putney Central School, together with poet Wally Swist and composer Elainie Lillios.

The four artists will present their work and talk about the first two days of their residency at the Putney Public Library on Thursday at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

At Putney Central School, Beyer and Lesser will lead a writing and music composition project for the school’s 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. In September, December and April, students will record sounds that they find in the school’s forest and write original haikus inspired by the three seasons covered by the residency visits. The school’s young musicians will then incorporate some of those sounds and words into original compositions.

Joining Beyer and Lesser at Putney Central School are author Wally Swist and composer Elainie Lillios. In the coming months, Lillios will compose a new electro-acoustic work for Due East that incorporates new haiku poems by Swist. During their residency, Due East will premiere the new work for students of the Putney Central School, their families, and the community. Over the course of the year, they will discuss the creation of the new work, using it as a model for the students’ own projects.

At Brattleboro Union High School, Beyer and Lesser will work with the wind ensemble and choir to explore and prepare a concerto for rhythmic Brazilian percussion, which will be the central component of the school’s spring concert in April 2013. They will also partner with social studies faculty to explore the Portuguese texts as part of the freshmen class’s social studies curriculum and diversity class.

Titled "Cycles of Time and Place," this project is one of eight projects nationwide funded by Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program, with additional support from the Fresh Sound Foundation, dedicated to building vibrant and viable communities through the arts, economic development and stewardship of the environment.

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