The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, in partnership with Saint Mary’s College and the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestras, hosted the inaugural Fischoff Chamber Music Summer Intensive from June 12th to 16th, 2023. This transformative week-long event was filled with music, camaraderie, and growth, showcasing the talents of young local musicians.
An Invigorating Beginning
The program kicked off with an explosion of enthusiasm on the first day as students and coaches embarked on a musical journey. The Thalea String Quartet, Fischoff’s quartet-in-residence, returned to their musical home to kick off the Summer Chamber Music Intensive. A day filled with icebreakers, a grand campus tour, brainstorming ensemble names, rehearsing with the quartet, and mindfulness activities set the tone for a week of musical exploration. The day culminated in a breathtaking concert by the Thalea String Quartet joined by fellow intensive coach and pianist Geoffroy Duce, setting the stage for an exciting week ahead.
A Bouquet of Talent
Throughout the week, students and faculty came together for a series of concerts featuring works by a variety of composers such as Haydn, Dvořák, DBR (Daniel Bernard Roumain), Jeffrey Ryan, Tartini, Shostakovich, Florence Price, and more. These performances, held at Saint Mary’s College’s Little Theatre in the Moreau Center for the Arts, were open to the public, allowing the community to revel in the students’ and faculty’s artistry.
Artistry and Education Hand in Hand
The inspiration and energy continued on the second day with the workshop “The Stage Is Your World” conducted by the Thalea String Quartet. This workshop aimed to enhance expressiveness and stage presence. Following this, students delved into a full day of rehearsals and coaching sessions, culminating in a concert that showcased the talents of ten students.
A Journey of Self-Expression
Day three began with a workshop titled “The World Is Your Stage,” a continuation of the previous day’s session. Students explored the importance of confidence and shared the reasons behind their love for the pieces they would perform. The day continued with coaching sessions, a faculty recital by Chris Whitley, a masterclass, and a mindfulness session.
The afternoon led students to St. Mary’s brand-new makerspace, “Spark Lab,” where they explored 3D and laser printing, t-shirt and button design, and other creative activities.
Making Music and Memories in the Community
The fourth day marked the culmination of days of hard work and learning. Students shared their music through community engagement concerts with than 300 Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County summer campers, resulting in joyful serenades, a musical petting zoo, and impromptu dance parties.
A Grand Finale
The week concluded on a high note with a final concert featuring eight ensembles that left the audience awestruck. This experience wasn’t just about music; it was about building friendships, improving communication skills, and giving back to the community.
Acknowledgements and Gratitude
The success of this week-long intensive was made possible through the dedication of the coaches, including the Thalea String Quartet (Brady Anderson, Kumiko Sakamoto, Lauren Spaulding Chris Whitely), Geoffrey Duce, Emilie Grondin, Geena Kam, and Lara Turner.
Also, special thanks to the Fischoff Chamber Music Intensive Director Geena Kam who is also a faculty member at Saint Mary’s College. She envisioned this opportunity for students and was instrumental in the planning and administration of the program.
Crucial support in bringing this week to fruition was given by Saint Mary’s College Summer Camps Team led by Gabriella Maxwell, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, Indiana, South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestras, and Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN
The Fischoff Chamber Music Summer Intensive left an indelible mark, nurturing young musicians and fostering a sense of community and shared artistry. This initiative not only celebrates the joy of music but also honors the visionaries and collaborators who made it all possible.