Bonnie Gordon / Music

Anyone who has traversed the University of Virginia’s historic lawn and seen students walking to the shower, the Dean’s home, and faculty members teaching in Pavilion rooms can feel traces of Jefferson’s well known educational ideal of students and faculty learning and living together.  Such a walk often also comes alive with sound; students blasting music from their laptops, a capella groups practicing, music department ensemble sounds coming out of old Cabell hall, performance art, and more.  This too provides a palpable realization of Jefferson’s ideals. His original vision for the University stretched beyond academics to include the teaching of civic architecture, gardening, music, and sculpture.   He reserved a room in the Rotunda for the “instruction in drawing, music, or any other of the innocent and ornamental accomplishments of life.” And students were encouraged to enjoy “proper use of musical instruments shall be freely allowed in their rooms, and in that appropriated for instruction in music.”  Jefferson’s vision of the University as a place for the arts mirrored his obsessive attendance at performances of all kinds all over the world from tavern songs in local bars to bawdy opera in London and classical salons in Paris. As a close friend of his wrote “he panted after the fine arts and discovered a taste in them not easily satisfied with such scanty means as existed in a colony.”

My dream project aims to combine Jefferson’s interest in the performing arts, his vision of students and faculty socializing together, and my own investment in community outreach.  I would like to pair ten undergraduates with ten third and fourth grade students from the Westhaven neighborhood, which is within walking distance of the University of Virginia, for a music-mentoring program. The UVa students do not have to be affiliated with the Music Department. I will take both groups of students to a series of eight arts events during the year at a variety of local venues.  Events will include western classical music, Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast at the Paramount Theater, free concerts at the Pavilion, step dancing at Charlottesville High School, and an appropriate rock concert at the historic Jefferson Theater.  One of the most valuable kinds of interaction between students and faculty is experiencing the arts together.  Each event will include a social component with food.

The project will also importantly allow the two groups of students to get to know one another.  This music-mentoring project builds on community service work I did with the Westhaven afterschool program during my sabbatical. I helped to introduce the kids to arts of all kinds. With two elementary school teachers I brought fourteen girls to see Opera Viva’s all female performance of Orfeo ed Euridice.  Many of the elementary aged students had never been to UVa or seen a live performance.  The undergraduates enjoyed introducing the kids to opera, the story, and musical instruments.  I also brought UVa students with me to the Westhaven Recreation Center to give demonstrations on musical instruments and to help with arts and crafts.  The students saw this as a way to contribute to the community and found the experience rewarding and educational.



20 student tickets to Paramount HD Opera production (20 X17) $340

20 tickets to Jefferson Theater (20 X 15): $300

20 tickets to Live Arts 20 X 25: $500

20 ticket to production in Richmond (20 X 35): $700

Eight meals including pizza, snacks, and drinks food for 20 at $7/meal 7 * 8 (meals): $1120