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WSHS kids go to music listening contest (01/19/2005)
Question: What do Bela Bartok's 4^th String Quartet, Charles Ives' 4^th Symphony, and Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression have in common?

Answer: They are each one of the musical compositions being studied by 600 students around Minnesota who are preparing for the Minnesota Music Listening Contest.

At WSHS, the orchestra room is buzzing with activity in the morning before school as the orchestra's four teams, with three members each, prepare for the regional Music Listening Contest on Friday, Jan. 21 in Northfield. Led by coach and orchestra director Cindy Johnson, students are studying not just "music" by itself, but also the historical periods and cultural contexts which produce that music. This year's featured influence is the Blues, a uniquely American art form which has become a universal musical language. The featured composer and genre are Johann Sebastian Bach and the fugue.

According to Ms Johnson, WSHS Orchestra teams have done very well at the regional competition, often advancing to the state level. But, she says, it is even more important to look at how much musical and cultural knowledge students pick up and especially what new areas of interest it opens to them. She also noted that the most challenging part of the contest is the Mystery Listening, where students try to identify a composer whose works they have studied by listening to segments of other works by those composers, requiring them not just to memorize, but to analyze stylistic features.

This year's WSHS Orchestra teams include: Claire Hammer, Sarah Rathman, Kayla Wolfe; John Fox, Jenny Schmidt, Grace Flinsch; Ilan Klages-Mundt, Kalon Lasater, Dustin Denzer; Tony Pham, Amanda Sattler and Joe Orlowske. 

 

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