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MACH in the Community

Making the Most of "Make Music Madison"Make Music Madison

Make Music Madison is becoming an annual tradition. It happens on June 21 each year celebrating the Summer Solstice. Following in the footsteps of a world-wide tradition that started in Paris in the 1980s, it is a free music festival featuring mini-concerts all over the city, including all types of music. Most of the performances are held outside and include both amateur and professional musicians.

MACH was pleased to participate this year, with a total of three performances: outside the Children's Museum, in front of Fromagination on the Capital Square, and at First Congregational UCC near Camp Randall. A six-ringer ensemble came up with an eclectic mix of tunes to play including "Mexican Hat Dance", "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", "The Jeopardy Theme Song" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". We also included some folk and patriotic favorites. Our rendition of "Singin' in the Rain" proved prophetic as it "was" raining by our third performance.

We hope to continue this tradition as long as Madison does. We had some loyal "fans" that came out to see us at all three venues, and we hope to see them again next year!

Play Ball (or Bell)!

MACH On July 13, 6000 fans of the Madison Mallards (Northwoods League) baseball team were in for a treat as a very unique rendition of our National Anthem "rang" across the field. As the six members of MACH played The Star-Spangled Banner, a hush fell over the crowd. When the ringers started, out on the pitcher's mound with just the one microphone, you could have heard a pin drop as people in the stands strained to hear. A MACH fan said even the players were all watching the ringers rather than the flag. About halfway through, the sound was finally turned up and the crowd could hear it all through the stadium. A fan who is a bell ringer was later heard to say that she was in awe when she recognized what it was from behind the stands by the concessions.

MACH How did this happen? A former member of MACH saw on Facebook that the Mallards were auditioning groups to perform the National Anthem and thought, "Why not on bells?" Another member arranged the piece for 6 ringers. After a couple of practices, they passed the audition and were given the July 13th game. And of course, most of the rest of the MACH ringers were there to cheer them on!

So go on! Think outside that box. Not only can bells be used for the prelude on Sunday morning, but also as the prelude to the big game!

MACH Wins Recognition for its School Project

The Crane Department of Music at SUNY Potsdam, NY, was the nation's first school to train music educators. In honor of its 125th anniversary, graduates of that school were asked to submit their innovative classroom music projects for possible inclusion in a book and presentation at a celebratory symposium at the college.

Dr. Susan Udell, founder and former director of MACH and Crane graduate, submitted a summary of the choir's project, Enriching Music Appreciation Through Handchimes and Handbells. In the five years that grants permitted the choir to present this project, over 3000 4th and 5th grade students in Madison and surrounding communities were taught to play the handchimes, were given a demonstration of handbells, and were treated to a culminating concert by MACH for which the students had been prepared by means of written materials and a CD of pieces to be performed. There was no cost to students, teachers or the schools for participating.

The project allowed students 1) to explore making music with handchimes while responding to musical icons, 2) to gain immediate satisfaction by playing accompaniments that involved focus, teamwork and commitment, and 3) to be exposed to a variety of musical styles in concert that ranged from popular to classical with emphasis on the latter. Students of all abilities were able to participate and their enthusiastic comments showed that they really enjoyed and valued their classroom and concert experiences.

Dr. Caron Collins of the Crane Department's faculty recently announced that MACH's project will not only be included in her upcoming book, Messengers of Music: The Legacy of Julia E. Crane, but is also one of twelve innovative projects that will be featured at the symposium. We are pleased that other music educators have recognized the innovation and impact of our school music project!

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