Very Young Composers Share Stage with Dance Troupe

By Laura Rowe

Three Stevens Point students will have their original musical compositions performed during the 15th anniversary evening recital of the Point Dance Ensemble. The evening performance will be the first time that music composed by members of the Very Young Composers of Central Wisconsin has been interpreted through dance.

Emily Glodowski, Hope Mahon and Katherine Young each will have music scores performed by local musicians.

“It’s one of those times that these pieces start to live outside of themselves,” said Robert Rosen, director of the composers program and professor emeritus at UWSP.

The program, which begins with opportunities for 4th and 5th grade students to compose original music, is modeled after one begun by Rosen’s friend John Deak in New York City. The difference between the two programs is that the New York students work with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra; here, they work through the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the local community.

The whole teaching model is turned on its side with this program. “We don’t try to teach the kids to compose,” Rosen said. “We don’t try to teach them anything.”

Instead, elementary school students are paired with university student volunteers, who help the young composers to convey music they “hear” in their imagination. “Their primary role is to act as a scribe (to the young composer), not as a teacher.”

This is the fourth year of the program in Stevens Point, which is open to any elementary students, regardless of musical background.

“Our major goal is to introduce youngsters to music,” Rosen said. “If you can inspire youngsters first, then that’s the
way to go. Frankly, if not one of these kids ever writes another note, but gets enthusiastic about music, then we have succeeded.”

The Very Young Composers of Central Wisconsin is governed by a board of directors, including Elizabeth Aguillera (vice president), Brendan Caldwell, Amy Eddy (president), Patricia Holland, Kimber Goodwin (treasurer), Ann Huntoon, Cynthia Kiepert, Patrick Lawrence, Tricia Lee, Alexandrea Mueller and David Poffinbarger.

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