Virginia Symphony’s artist residency in local schools

Posted on: May 2, 2018

“A man sits in front of an upright bass half his size, clearly built for someone smaller,” writes Amelia Heymann in Tuesday’s (5/1) Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg/James City County). “The man tuning the bass is no ordinary music teacher, but Michael Ashton, a bassist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Last Friday, three members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra visited Berkeley Middle School as part of the School/Orchestra Artistic Residency program…. SOAR has been going into Williamsburg-James City County Schools for seven years … at no cost to the district…. Orchestra members also have visited elementary schools…. The … programs are funded through the education department of the VSO…. Ashton said … a similar music program helped him growing up…. ‘When I was in high school … playing for the Atlanta Youth Symphony and playing for the director Paul Mann at Roswell High School … shaped me as a person and gave me the passion to continue as a professional,’ Ashton said…. Mckinnley Parker, a seventh-grade violin player, said she was moved by [how VSO violist] Satoko Rickenbacker … could play the violin and viola … ‘I want to eventually make it into a large symphony like the Virginia Symphony,’ Parker said.”

Posted May 2, 2018

Pictured: Virginia Symphony Orchestra bassist Michael Ashton (right) works with middle-school musicians at Berkeley Middle School as part of the VSO’s School/Orchestra Artistic Residency (SOAR) program. Photo by Amelia Heymann