“Celebrate Litchfield! Composer Project” will be coming to Litchfield School District this fall as a result of the collaborative efforts of Litchfield Music Department, Litchfield Historical Society, Litchfield Education Foundation (LEF), and ASAP!.

Band and chorus students from Litchfield Middle/High School will have the incredible opportunity to work directly with Grammy-winning saxophonist and bandleader, Paul Winter, to compose an original piece of music that celebrates Litchfield’s 300th Anniversary. Throughout the school year, Mr. Winter will work directly with students and music teachers Dan Porri and Peter Perkins using different methods to stimulate material from the students. Having spent a lifetime exploring the possibilities of small-group music-making, Mr. Winter believes that all instrumentalists and singers, regardless of experience, can awaken their own creative potential through adventures in spontaneous, collective sound-play.

Litchfield students and teachers from a variety of departments will contribute to this project, including the History, Art and English Departments. With the support of Litchfield Historical Society, students will research the town’s archives for revealing stories, inspirational prose and important historical elements to be included as lyrics. “We are thrilled to have Litchfield’s students contributing to our community’s 300th Anniversary celebration in such a unique project,” states Cathy Fields, Director, Litchfield Historical Society. “We look forward to introducing students to the wonderful resources in our archives and museum collections. The letters, diaries, and journals give us a direct connection to Litchfield’s past.

This exciting project culminates with the students premiering the completed composition as the finale of their Spring Concert on April 12, 2018, in the LHS Gymnasium. Plans are also in the works to include a reprise performance of the piece as part of the town-wide celebration of Litchfield’s 300th anniversary in 2019.

“We are excited about the possibilities for collaboration with community members and students,” says Dan Porri. “The immersive experience in the creative process is something that students do not typically receive in traditional high school ensembles. Most importantly, our goal is that this project promotes unity and collaboration within our school and the greater Litchfield community, and culminates in a positive and memorable experience for all involved.”

LEF is pleased to support 100% of this project with a $9800 grant, $5000 of the grant award was an ear-marked donation from an anonymous resident of Litchfield County who expressed a strong interest in supporting the Performing Arts in Litchfield’s schools. “Celebrate Litchfield! Composer Project is a perfect opportunity to bring our community together,” states Michele Saunders, President, Litchfield Education Foundation. “Preparation for our town’s 300th Anniversary in 2019 is underway, and our vision for this unique student project includes teachers and parents as well as Litchfield residents, organizations, and businesses, in a collaborative effort to produce an original composition that will, in perpetuity, honor Litchfield’s place in Connecticut’s history!”

ASAP!, a social profit organization, is instrumental in bringing this project to life by facilitating Mr. Winter’s participation, administrating the project, and helping to refine the project’s vision. This program is one of ASAP!’s Composer Projects that are held in schools throughout northwestern CT. ASAP!’s mission is to foster creative, hands-on learning through the arts and believes that when we honor children’s imagination, invite them to create, encourage them to take risks, and trust their resourcefulness, they will become the empowered and resilient adults the world really needs.

For more information about ASAP! programs, please visit www.asapct.org and to learn more about Litchfield Education Foundation’s mission and vision, visit www.LEFforStudents.org. Please visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org to learn more here about how the Historical Society is preparing for the town’s 300th Anniversary in 2019 and how community members can be involved.
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