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Reaching Musical Heights: Heights School Musicians Fill Severance Hall with Music to Warm a Cold Evening

January 29, 2015

Heights High student musicians perform in Reaching Musical Heights 2011 at Severance Hall. Photo by Carl Jenks


Hundreds of students from Cleveland Heights-University Heights' elementary and middle schools and Cleveland Heights High School filled Severance Hall with music on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. More than 500 instrumental and vocal students from the district's public schools took the stage usually filled by the Cleveland Orchestra for this fourth in a quadrennial series, Reaching Musical Heights. Previous Reaching Musical Heights concerts were held in 2003, 2007, and 2011.


Jazz combos filled Severance's Box Promenade and harp music serenaded guests as they picked up tickets. As the show began on stage, the high school's pit orchestra joined with Heights' A Cappella Choir and Singers for a rousing show tune by Frank Loesser.  Elementary singers, and Middle School Honor Choir and Honor Orchestra were followed by the Gospel Choir and special guest Geoffrey Golden, 2012 Heights graduate and now Morehouse College junior, who not only accompanied the Gospel Choir on the piano and sang but also reminded the audience of his musical path through school from recorder to saxophone to bassoon to vocal music and music theory. Golden remembered and thanked each of his Heights music teachers as he shared his pride as winner last summer of BET's Sunday Best gospel competition.


Heights High Symphonic Winds  soared with a complex selection for concert band, Men's Barbershoppers sang "Please, Mr. Columbus and  A Cappella Choir, Singers, and Heights Symphony ended the concert with music from Igor Stravinsky, John Rutter, Ludwig van Beethoven, and an especially beautiful rendition of "Shenandoah." Student conductors showed their skill as they led the A Cappella Choir in two selections.


In celebration of the  REACHING MUSICAL HEIGHTS 2015, we are

sharing favorite memories from former and current Heights' musicians.



Reaching Heights works closely with our schools’ music faculty who prepared the students:  Daniel Heim, instrumental music director at Heights High School; Brett Baker, Director of Bands at Heights; Craig McGaughey, Director of Choirs at Heights; Ben Ammon, Heights bands; elementary vocal music teachers Anna Costanza, Karly Bowman, Tamar Gray, Robin Grant, Jenna Hall, Sarah Schlafer, Julia Frameli; middle school and elementary instrumental teachers Jeff Altonen, Benjamin Ammon, Nicole Castleberry-Clouser, Daniel Heim, and Paul Hungerford; middle school choral directors Theodore Rood and Jaco Ross; as well as Sandra Dixon who directs the high school Gospel Choir.  Richard Waugh, violist with the Cleveland Orchestra and recently retired member of the Reaching Heights Board of Directors coordinated collaboration with Severance Hall.


Reaching Heights supports vocal and instrumental music in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools through an annual week-long summer music camp and with scholarships that help pay for private music lessons for our students, through the Patti-Jackson Music Lesson Scholarship Program.


Dr. Talisa L Dixon, superintendent of schools, thanked the large audience for coming out on a cold night, "for offering your encouragement to all of our students, and for supporting this rich tradition."



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