Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

In Harmony

SPHERE and RSO get in tune



Chris Brubeck wrote a song that Kim Pereira will have members of SPHERE perform.

Photo by Scott Mullin

Harmony in a musical composition arises when there are extra notes alongside the melody of a song. Separately they are one-dimensional but together they complement and enrich the other. The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra and SPHERE, a non-profit organization that enriches the lives of adults with special needs, together have developed a harmonious relationship bringing music and positive change to all involved. 

This special partnership began in 2014 when Kim Pereira came on as musical director of SPHERE’s performing-arts program. Her goal was to expand the already strong program, making musical education and appreciation an integral part. With a Master’s in education and 20 years experience teaching piano, she knew she wanted to share her love for music. “I wanted to spark a similar passion in the SPHERE members,” she says.

Pereira’s first initiative was forging a relationship with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. For the past two years, the RSO has generously donated tickets to its concerts to SPHERE members. Prior to an upcoming concert, RSO musicians visit SPHERE’s music and performing-arts program. The musicians demonstrate their instruments and explain the music. The result has been overwhelmingly positive. “The symphony can be intimidating, especially for adults with special needs,” Pereira says. “But the visits from the RSO helps members connect with the music.”

Continuing their collaboration, SPHERE and the RSO took the stage together last June at the SPHERE-tacular show. Joe Russo, a bassist in the RSO, composed an original piece entitled “Joy,” which featured SPHERE members on percussion and vocals and a brass quintet from the RSO. “There definitely was joy on the stage and a tremendous amount of pride,” says Pereira. 

Pereira believed that the SPHERE members were capable of even more. “I really want to highlight their abilities, instead of their disabilities,” she says. With that in mind, in the spring of 2015, then–RSO executive director Larry Kopp applied for and subsequently was awarded a Getty Education and Community Investment Grant to further the partnership between RSO and SPHERE. The RSO was one of only 22 orchestras nationwide chosen for this prestigious award, which is selected by the League of American Orchestras.

The grant supports a three-pronged program: the continuation of visits by orchestra members, SPHERE member attendance to concerts, and a culminating performance. The RSO has commissioned Grammy-nominated composer Chris Brubeck to write a piece to be jointly performed by the entire RSO orchestra and SPHERE members. Although Kopp has since stepped down, current executive director Laurie Kenagy has embraced the vision with enthusiasm. “It’s very exciting,” she comments. “There’s no other orchestra in the country right now doing something like this.” 

Creating an orchestral composition that includes adults with special needs was not without challenges. When first approached with the idea, Brubeck, who has distinguished himself as an innovative composer, was up for the task. He visited the performing-arts group and went through a few chord progressions and tested the members’ range. He was immediately impressed. “What really got to me,” Brubeck says, “is the way the music uplifted them.” 

“Writing this piece has kind of been like playing a 3-D chess game,” Brubeck comments. His goal: to write a piece that will be accessible to all SPHERE members yet still challenge them, that will be fulfilling to the RSO musicians, and that will move and inspire the audience. 

Rehearsals have continued through summer in preparation for the RSO opening concert, which will be led by guest conductor Barbara Yehr, music director of the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Yehr, a talented conductor who has led renowned orchestras around the world, also has a Master’s in music therapy. “Having Barbara, who is so familiar with working with individuals with disabilities, is really going to make it special,” says Kenagy.

The benefits of this collaboration for SPHERE members are obvious. “There is immediate emotional feedback from the members,” Pereira says. RSO members have profited as well. “Every RSO musician involved has said how special it is to share something with a population that wouldn’t normally attend our concerts or have access to this kind of music,” says Kenagy.

Brubeck has titled his piece “Sphere of Influence” because he says, “So many elements of what the SPHERE members brought to the table influenced how I approached the composition.” The concert itself is called A World of Possibility, a fitting name as the collaboration of these two groups truly demonstrates the world of possibilities for these community members.

Tickets for A World of Possibility on October 1 are available at ridgefieldsymphony.org or through the box-office via phone at 203-438-3889.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Worth the Weight

John Frey’s life-changing experience

Showtime

Performing artists glam up locally to take on the town

Play House

A Putnam County Couple finds home

How We Met: It’s a Small Web

Finding love with online dating

Double H Time

A book recounts Hunter Harrison’s remarkable life

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2018

Ridgefield Magazine Broadway & Cabaret Series Northeast Builders of Ridgefield LLC Emerging Artist Series Partially Underwritten by Adam Broderick Salon & Spa Cynthia Erivo rose to...

Cost: $86

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A.A. Milne's classic tales, Winne-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, have delighted readers for nearly a century. The story's characters -- Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and the rest of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of the Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Lesley Lambton
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In January of 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb The Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000 foot rock...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity Join us in the lobby at 7:15pm for an Italian wine tasting by Pera Wines and an art exhibit! This ten-time...

Cost: $95

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

FREE community event: Join Dawn Kurth, of No Kidding Nutrition (www.nokiddingnutrition.com) for a workshop sure to be of interest for anyone who's dealt with the six o'clock scramble or had one too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Woodcock Nature Center plans Under the Harvest Moon Benefit Event Friday, September 21 One of the largest fundraisers of the year for Woodcock Nature Center, Under the Harvest Moon on Friday,...

Cost: $80/person

Where:
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Rd
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Website »

More information

Wildlife trafficking generates more than $10 billion a year for transnational organized criminal networks. Join us to learn about the work our Nature Initiative is doing to further the strategic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Magazine Broadway & Cabaret Series Partially underwritten by Adam Broderick Salon & Spa This Opera/Rock Mash-up sensation blends iconic opera classics with rock and roll hits...

Cost: $40

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The 58th annual Lewisboro Library Fair is Saturday, September 22 from 10 am to 4 pm at Onatru Farm Town Park (99 Elmwood Road in South Salem). The Fair features huge Book, “Attic Treasures”...

Cost: free

Where:
Onatru Farm Town Park
99 Elmwood Road
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: Lewisboro Library
Telephone: 914-875-9004
Contact Name: Liz Gabriele
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags