The Ripple Effect

Note:  although “The Ripple Effect” program is currently inactive, we hope to revive it from time to time.  We welcome your input.  In the meantime, the descriptions below will help provide a sense of how the program worked in its early years; perhaps you can adapt it for your school!

In today’s fragmented world, it is often difficult for students to perceive the connections between the art they “consume” (music, film, books, TV, etc.) and the real life issues they face. For professional artists, even, this is not always easy; many of them create in isolation, constructing walls where “building community” would be more appropriate.

At Symphony NH (SNH), we’re addressing the need for human connection in the world of the arts, by bringing people across disciplines together for a uniquely engaging, long term project that we hope will energize and inspire all the participants to create work they’re proud of, that expresses some essential element of their experience, and that they’re eager to share with the larger public.

“The Ripple Effect” is designed to be a long-term collaboration between Nashua’s high school student writers, singers, and artists, SNH, experienced composers, and former NH Poet-Laureate Marie Harris.

The project’s goal is to highlight the inter-connectivity between these various art forms, and to generate an awareness of the unique pleasures of artistic collaboration and expression. None of the art is created in a vacuum; instead, students and professionals are asked to respond to each other through their art. Each cycle represents a journey from music to poetry to visual art and finally back to music, with new work responding to old through the filter of contemporary experience.

Cycle 5

Students writing about their experience as “outsiders” challenged & inspired composer Ted Mann to set their poems to music for SNH and Chorus, and concert choirs from both high schools.

Cycle 4

Composer Malcolm Hawkins added his music to a program of African-American spirituals, after student poets considered their own “flights to freedom.”

Cycle 3

…found students writing about their “changing environment” and hoping that “Help is on the Way” – which ended up as the title to the new work by Kevin Siegfried.

Cycle 2

…connected to Randall Thompson’s “Peaceable Kingdom” by asking students to write about their own places of refuge. The Symphony Chorus performed new works by Kevin Siegfried and Mark Winges.

Cycle 1

…explored the students “Quest for Identity” and related it to the music of composer Amy Beach. New works by Kevin Siegfried, Patrick Valentine, and Alan Fletcher were commissioned.


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