WASHINGTON TWP. – Students at Washington Elementary School stomped and cheered as a trio of musicians performed a catchy folk song that once resonated in the Italian countryside.
Even though they did not understand what was being said, the students knew exactly what was being conveyed.
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“The music is so interesting,” Anthony Taddeo, percussionist and songwriter for the Cleveland-based musical ensemble Alla Boara, told students. “Music makes you feel things. It makes you remember things.”
This is exactly what happened to fifth year Izzy Santee.
“It reminded me of a movie I saw once,” Santee told the group after a trio from the group performed a playful piece during a presentation at their school earlier this week.
The presentation is part of the Ohio Regional Music Arts Cultural Outreach World Music Tour. It brings together talented artists from around the world to give concerts and public workshops in Stark, Medina, Summit, Ashland, Wayne and Lorain counties.
As the first stop on Alla Boara’s tour, they stopped at Marlington Local elementary schools in Washington and Marlboro.
They also visited local Jackson schools in Stark. They also have performances at the Cloverleaf Local Schools Juvenile Detention Center in Medina County and the Western Reserve Masonic Home in Medina County ahead of a public concert at the OJ Work Auditorium in Wadsworth on Saturday.
What is the Ohio Regional Music Arts Cultural Outreach?
The Ohio Regional Music Arts Cultural Outreach – or ORMACO – aims to make cultural experiences accessible to everyone. This is the first time the group has returned to schools since the start of the pandemic and organizers are delighted to restart the program.
During the week, Alla Boara will have shared her reinvented Italian folk songs with 3,000 people, said ORMACO Executive Director Thomas Sigel.
“We’re absolutely thrilled. It’s about lifelong learning,” he said.
During the presentation, Taddeo explained to the students that the Italian people and many cultures around the world use music to help them with certain tasks such as harvesting crops.
Alla Boara takes its name from a traditional call-and-response song that is said to have been used during the harvest, he said.
The music performed by the band was close to extinction but was reinvented by modern arrangements by Alla Boara.
Music can be playful or gloomy. It can be used in celebrations or to express anger.
Students learned about instruments used in traditional folk music, such as the harp harp which uses the resonance chamber of the mouth to produce sounds.
Taddeo said much of the music they play would have been wasted over time if Alan Lomax, an ethnomusicologist, had not gone to rural areas of the country to record regional folk tunes.
The group uses the recordings to recreate masterpieces and share musical treasures with new generations.
“Bringing musical groups like Alla Boara into school districts enriches the lives of our students immensely. Not only do they learn music, but they also learn a bit of history, culture and geography,” said the Superintendent of Marlington , Mike Shreffler.
The superintendent stressed that many children would never be exposed to programs such as those offered by ORMACO, if they were not brought to schools.
“Above all, these programs are fun and exciting for our children. he said.
Taking part in the World Tour of Music is exactly what an artist is, Taddeo said. And being able to perform and talk to students about their art is important as many districts struggle to access arts funding.
He hopes the performances throughout the week reach someone sitting in the audience and inspire them to start digging into his own legacy.
“The purpose of creativity and being an artist is to be able to share (your talents),” Taddeo said. “We can show what music means for relationships and the community. It’s the most important work we do.”
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