The Chamber Music in Public Schools (CHAMPS) program, operating under the auspices of Salon Concerts, Inc., seeks to encourage the next generation of chamber musicians. Orchestra and band students at Austin-area schools audition for small ensembles that receive special coaching throughout the year. Funded by grants and donations, the program is free to participating students and schools.
Before the school year begins, the CHAMPS Director, Jephta Bernstein, contacts orchestra directors from middle and high school programs in the Austin, Eanes, and Round Rock public school districts, inviting them to participate in the CHAMPS program. Typically, CHAMPS has participants from at least twelve schools, with CHAMPS coaches auditioning students who are recommended to participate. For each individual group, the coaches select challenging chamber music to suit that group’s immediate needs.
Each student ensemble receives highly specialized instruction from a professional chamber musician. Most ensembles are coached weekly in hour-long sessions. Instruction occurs during the students’ orchestra class period. However, most groups meet outside of the weekly coaching sessions as well, developing their own rehearsal techniques and learning to work together as a group.
Performance opportunities are arranged throughout the year for CHAMPS participants. In-school concerts are given for the general student body or for smaller audiences of orchestra, band, and choir students. CHAMPS students also perform at community and corporate functions in addition to two public concerts at Austin ‘s Armstrong Community Music School. Each year, a least one student performance is videotaped for broadcast on public access television, reaching thousands of viewers over numerous airings. For additional information about the CHAMPS program, visit the Salon Concerts website at http://www.salonconcerts.org.
AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA
In addition to regularly-scheduled concerts, the Austin High School Orchestra CHAMPS string quartet is available to perform at private functions, such as weddings, meetings, and social gatherings for a fee and/or donation to the orchestra program. For additional information or to schedule the string quartet for an event, contact theOrchestra Director, Ana Maria Solís-Herrera, at 512-414-1251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.