Earlier this afternoon, Linz and I had the opportunity to present a project to the rising class at Penfield High School in Rochester, New York. The project we have proposed is a Shakespeare Sonnet composition project that will involve the advanced voice class, the orchestra and the theory class.
Throughout the next school year, we will be examining the Shakespeare Sonnets with the voice class, translating 5 to 7 of them into modern English with the students' help, and then setting the original sonnet into a vocal composition with orchestrated arrangements. In performance next June (2012),the class will present their translated versions paired with the original sonnets ... all set to music, which will be performed in a special concert.
When talking to the class today, it became apparent that Shakespeare is a mystery ... and yet everyone thinks and believes that to know Shakespeare is evidence of an educated person. Based on their response, it is clear that learning Shakespeare is perceived to be a difficult task.
With this project, our goal as composers/writers is to connect them with this heightened language in a way that makes Shakespeare's words personal to them, so that when they speak these words without the music, they will feel and know the power of great writing --writing that transcends time.
So ... we are off! ... beginning a journey ... we hope it will be a fantastic one for all involved. We certainly know we are looking forward to the experience.