Educator: Joe Brennan. School: Haverford High School, where he is director of the Haverford High School Orchestra. Achievement: The orchestra has been chosen to represent Pennsylvania at the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown colony in Virginia on May 13. President Bush and dignitaries from around the world are expected to attend. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in America.
School: Haverford High School, where he is director of the Haverford High School Orchestra.
Achievement: The orchestra has been chosen to represent Pennsylvania at the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown colony in Virginia on May 13. President Bush and dignitaries from around the world are expected to attend. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in America.
Music Celebrations International invited the Haverford orchestra because of its fine reputation, Brennan said. He views the invitation as "a tremendous honor."
Question: Is Haverford the only school district from Pennsylvania that has been invited to play in Jamestown?
Answer: As far as I know, the Haverford High School Orchestra is the only instrumental group from Pennsylvania.
Q: How many musicians will go? Will every orchestra member go? Will there be any singers going?
A: Thirty-seven musicians will be going. The whole orchestra has 77 members. No singers will be going.
Q: Is there a competition that the orchestra won to claim this honor?
A: Not one specific honor, but a reputation of earning many honors. Specifically, numerous invitations to perform at the annual state convention of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.
Q: What pieces will be performed in Jamestown?
A: The orchestra will perform the "Waltz" from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Suite, the first movement from Music for Strings by the American composer Quincy Porter. At the finale, members of the orchestra will be part of a larger orchestra and chorus, performing patriotic music and well-known selections by American composers.
Q: Where will the concert be held?
A: The orchestra performance and the finale will be held in Anniversary Park in Jamestown.
Q: What will the musicians wear?
A: Formal wear for both performances. Black gowns for the young women, and black tuxedos for the guys.
Q: Can you describe what you expect it to be like, to play with 2,000 other musicians?
A: Awesome, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Q: Who is sponsoring the whole celebration in Jamestown, and how did you learn about the event?
A: There are various sponsors in both the public and private sectors. There is a Web site with specific information about sponsors and events surrounding this celebration, at www.jamestown2007.org.
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is the honorary chairperson. We did not know about the celebration until we were invited to perform there last fall.
Q: How much money must be raised to make the trip? How will money be raised?
A: The total cost is $32,000. Fund-raising has included sales of various items, pretzel sales at school, soliciting donations from individuals, businesses, associations, and from the families of students. Donations are always welcome.
Q: How long have the musicians been preparing for this?
A: Most of the preparation has been during the last few months, as music for the finale has arrived.
Q: Why is the event important for students?
A: This is a chance to experience American history, and to participate in a significant historical event. Many of the students are proud to have been chosen for a national event.
Q: How do you and the students feel about going?
A: We are excited about performing for such a large and significant national event. We are also excited, and maybe somewhat anxious, about performing in such a large ensemble for the finale anchored by the professional Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Q: Have you given any thought to the historical significance of the Jamestown colony and why it's important to us now?
A: For me, to celebrate the arrival of explorers to a new world and the seed that grew into this nation is very inspiring and humbling - inspiring because of what tremendous growth has taken place in 400 years, and humbling when you realize the hardships and courage of the settlers of Jamestown.
- Bonnie L. Cook