Student art gets symphonic treatment

  • A sunrise painting created by one of Mason 5th grader Jaden Jodoin accompanied the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra during a performance of the “Dawn” section of Benjamin Britten's “Four Sea Interludes”. Courtesy photo

  • A depiction of a storm painted by a Mason Elementary School first-grader serves as a backdrop during a performance of Benjamin Britten's “Four Sea Interludes” on Sunday.  Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/11/2019 9:29:11 PM

Mason Elementary School students got to see their art illustrate the emotions of classical music, when their paintings served as the backdrop for the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Drawn to Music” program.

Mason Elementary School was one of 15 elementary schools with student artwork featured in the performance, held at the Seifert Performing Arts Center in Salem, New Hampshire on March 2 and March 3.

“For me, the arts are really linked,” Mason Elementary music teacher Michelle Jimeno said in an interview Thursday. “Arts encompasses the entire spectrum. I love bringing that to Mason.”

The Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Drawn to Music” program encourages elementary aged students to produce art that complements their program, and select pieces are projected behind the orchestra as they play.

The Philharmonic picks select pieces from participating schools. While at least 150 pieces will be selected, not every student’s work is guaranteed to be shown, Jimeno said.

“I was hopeful that at least a few of our students would be featured,” Jimeno said. As it turned out, she said, she had dreamed too small – at least one piece submitted from every student in Mason was selected.

“The students just beamed when I shared that with everybody,” Jimeno said. 

This year’s performance was the 11th year of the Drawn to Music program, which has featured 4,000 illustrations from students from 35 schools.

Jimeno said the students listened to each of the pieces, discussed the titles and themes, and looked at reference pictures to get ideas before buckling down to produce pieces. They were particularly drawn to create pieces based on Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes, she said, because each section, Dawn, Storm, Early Sunday and Moonlight, captures a different emotion.

In addition to Four Sea Interludes, the program included Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Dubussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and Smetana’s Die Moldau.

Students who were featured were able to attend either Saturday or Sunday’s performance for free.

“They were thrilled. They got to see all their art represented,” Jimeno said. “It just couldn’t have been a better pairing of these two different types of art.”

And for many of the students, it was their first live performance and introduction to classical music.

“They really enjoyed it. We explained the orchestra, and introduced them to the idea of the conductor – they found it very interesting to see the conductor be so physically involved in the music. That idea just gets them excited,” she said. 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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