Student Poems Provide Bay Symphony Lyrics

Work Emphasizes Awareness,preservation

March 26, 1992|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

For weeks, Ronnie Giddings dreamed of a place under the sea, where fish cavorted far below the hulls of ships.

The fifth-grader at Chesapeake Academy in Arnold turned his mind pictures into poetry, and now the 11-year-old's poetry has been turned into music.

Parts of Ronnie's poem, along with poems written by six other county students, have been incorporated into the lyrics of a symphony about the Chesapeake Bay. The symphony, called Chesapeake Suite, will be performed this spring by the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Wrote Ronnie:

"Beneath the waters, dark and cool/Dance the creatures of the pool

Lobsters, crab and octopi, squid and mussels, bubbles fly . . ."

The Maryland Children's Singers, along with soprano Carolene Winter, will sing the lyrics this May at two performances in Maryland.

The orchestral composition was commissioned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and written by Thomas Benjamin, a Peabody Conservatory professor and Maryland composer. It will be directed by Karen Deal.

But the main focus is on the bay and the youngsters who want to help save its treasures.

"We wanted to do a benefit for thebay as awareness," says Betty McGinnis of the Youth Orchestra's board of directors. "And we tried to use all forms of works by young people to make the suite very special."

Of nearly 300 responses from schools in southeastern Maryland, a panel chose 10 poems to be incorporated into the suite's lyrics.

Samples of the score include "Sunrise and Sunset," "Waterman's Reel" and "Lullaby of the Deep."

More than half the winners were students from Anne Arundel County, including Anne Mitchell, Tom Peiffer, Elise Hauck, Rebecca Kesner and Catherine Corner.

Another winner was a second Chesapeake Academy student, Karen Radowich, whose poem "My Winter Home" has become part of the symphony.

Says the 9-year-old: "It's about a Canadian geese who comes to the bay to spend his winter. It's from a bird's point of view,about what he needs from the bay, like "grassy marsh lands and lots of fish."

The students' words will be permanently printed into thesuite, McGinnis says.

"The board conceived the idea of putting something together with young people playing beautiful music and helping write the words." When board members realized that no orchestral compositions about the bay existed, they commissioned one.

Rod Daniels of WBAL-TV news will narrate the Chesapeake Suite, scheduled in Anne Arundel County for May 23 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis.

The Youth Symphony, composed of Maryland's finest young musicians, also will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 and Smetana's "The Moldau."

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