‘Representation Matters’ presented to local students
Webster high school music students are joining Irondequoit and Penfield school districts in connecting with the Eastman School of Music to learn how “Representation Matters” in the world of classical music.
This project, created by Eastman student Travon Walker, brings classical music to middle and high schools through a new, equitable lens. Launched last year by the aspiring opera singer studying vocal performance and arts leadership, the project focuses on music created by people of color.
“Our goal is to show BIPOC — Black, Indigenous and people of color — youth that they belong in this classical music space and that there is a place for them,” Walker said. “For young people, seeing others who look like them helps them feel included. It inspires them to imagine that they could make music like this, too.”
Music teachers at Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high schools share with their students pieces created by composers of color and performed by Eastman students. Then, the class has a Zoom meeting with Walker and some of the performers.
The Eastman students share their experiences as being musicians of color in the classical field and answer Webster students’ questions.
“Of course, students wanted to know about favorite composers and performers, and technical aspects of playing and singing at a higher level, but so much more came across during this open discussion,” said Michael Roller, director of fine arts for Webster Central School District. “I heard a conversation that was uplifting and advocating for people of color in classical music, building appreciation across many groups and striving for awareness and change within the music community and beyond. This is important for One Webster students.”