Upper Arlington High School choir members will hit the streets this weekend to "sing for their supper" in the Neighborhood Choral Canvass -- a way to ask the community to support the vocal music program.
Both the Symphonic Choir and the orchestra program's Symphony Strings were recently invited to perform at the annual OMEA conference Feb. 7-9 at the Columbus Convention Center.
Eric Kauffman, choral and theater director, said the students will knock on doors in the Neighborhood Choral Canvass from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30.
"In the spirit of singing for our supper and students taking ownership and initiative for their program and extracurricular activities, we will be canvassing the neighborhoods to raise community awareness of our concert schedule for the year, as well as accept donations for our Symphonic Choir tour to New York City in April," he said.
The Symphonic Choir is taking an educational performance tour to New York City via Philadelphia from April 10-14, 2013.
Kauffman said the tour will include an exchange concert with a high school choir in the Philadelphia suburbs, performances in famous cathedrals and national exposure for the school district and its music department.
He said the Upper Arlington community has been "very supportive" of the school's music programs in the past.
"This year, we wanted to take the time to not only thank the community for their ongoing support, but raise awareness that this project is not just kids going from door to door asking for a handout, but rather students learning about the inside track of how community music and theater organizations exist, thrive and survive," he said.
He said the Vocal Music Boosters are able to underwrite musical and theatrical productions such as the Fall Follies Beatles Show, coming up on Oct. 18, 20 and 21. The boosters also support other musical theater productions, such as the 10th anniversary production of Les Miserables, in February, through personal benefactors, corporate sponsorships and selling ads in the music programs.
"I understand that in times of a school levy, this can be a very personal and touchy subject for some community members, who pay their fair share of taxes to support our schools," he said. "That is why I am taking the initiative to raise awareness that communication is so important for people to realize the students are learning how to promote their organization as well as create budgets and produce shows that are designed to sometimes profit and sometimes break even."
Kauffman said students are learning what is involved in keeping a community arts organization solvent.
"I'm proud of the students for giving their time and talents to music, performing, creative expression and community service," he said. "I hope the community will join me in supporting these kids for taking the initiative to help themselves and take the 'good' and make it 'great' by donating to the Neighborhood Choral Canvass."
Ed Zunic, orchestra director, said this is only the second time in the past 10 years that members of the Symphony Strings have been selected to perform at the annual OMEA conference.
They will perform at 9:45 a.m. Feb. 8, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St.
"We have programmed a wide variety of music, from classical to contemporary, and will feature a piece by Marylin Schrude, an Ohio composer and Bowling Green University professor," Zunic said.
He said Symphony Strings is an audition group composed of the top 33 players in the orchestra program, which has a total of 178 students.
Future performances include the Fall Philharmonic on Nov. 15, where the group will perform with area adult community musicians; an OMEA State Orchestra adjudicated event on Feb. 23 and the All-City Orchestra Concert on March 7, which will feature all three high school orchestras and 600 other string players from every middle and elementary school in Upper Arlington.
Zunic said he has taught in Newark, Lima, Bowling Green and in Odessa, Texas.
"For the first time in my career, I am surrounded by a group of orchestra teachers that are second to none in the country," he said. "Our philosophy that 'the kid and the curriculum are the two most important things in the room every day' can be witnessed in every school in our community."
He added that the team of Melissa Allen, Nora Calvert, John Deliman and Gretchen Zunic "are the teachers that made this possible."
"While I am the teacher of record for the Symphony Strings, I am also very aware that the elementary and middle school orchestra teachers are the reason the Symphony Strings has received this honor," he said.