A hallmark of a Parker educational experience is the responsiveness of our faculty to the emergent needs of our students and how it affects curriculum. Three years ago, a 5th grade student voiced her concerns about what she perceived as a lack of female representation in the music industry. In the years since, the Music Department has worked together to orchestrate small group experiences to help students take a closer look at gender inequity in the field. This year, music educators wanted to bring this topic to the larger school audience and planned a 3rd–12th grade Women in Music Morning Ex, which proved to be a toe-tappingly great way to end a very busy week at the school.
At this special gathering, Parker brass teacher and trombone player Catie Hickey opened by speaking to the history and evolution of the presentation. She then joined talented forces with flutist Gaby Vargas, pianist and music director Christie Chiles-Twillie and bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst for a special performance of Trout Quintet by Franz Schubertthat Chiles-Twillie arranged just for this event.
Following this performance, each musician took center stage, introducing themselves and their instruments and sharing their personal stories about what drew them to music in general and each of their specific instruments in particular. Then, each artist played a short piece of music to demonstrate the range and unique sounds of their chosen instrument.
The experience featured great music and thought-provoking discussion, helping all in attendance appreciate the personalities and people behind the instruments, as well as the essential importance of gender in music.