Imani Winds to reach schools, community through residency

Imani Winds.While visiting SUNY Oswego in November, Grammy-nominated quintet Imani Winds will provide outreach programs to schools and communities.

The Residency Partnership Program grant from Chamber Music America is one of only six awarded nationwide in a competitive process, said Mary Avrakotos, coordinator of the college’s Artswego Performing Arts Series.

Imani Winds’ main public performance will be a concert in SUNY Oswego’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, in the Sheldon Hall ballroom. But the group will meet people of all ages through four days of interaction around Oswego County.

The quintet will present an informal, interactive informance with pianist Rob Auler of SUNY Oswego’s music department at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at the Pulaski Congregational Church, 27 Lake St. in Pulaski. The event is free and open to the public.

Imani Winds will do several workshops with local schoolchildren. They will host two sessions for hundreds of third and fourth graders from local schools titled “How Jeff Got His Groove Back” on campus Nov. 9 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. The quintet will visit Oswego Middle School the next day for a pair of programs titled “Musical Journey Around the World.”

On Thursday morning, Nov. 12, Imani Winds will present “Rhythm and Song: The Influence of African Diaspora on Classical Music” for global studies courses at Oswego High School. They will follow that with a “Thinking Outside the Box” workshop for select high school musicians and work with them individually on their instruments.

During SUNY Oswego’s College Hour, 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, the musicians will discuss the origins of their instruments and the rhythmic and melodic influences of African elements in classical music. The College Hour concert preview, in Room 118 of the Campus Center, will be free and open to the public.

“It’s just such a wonderful opportunity to have this group of talented educators and musicians work with students and members of the community,” Avrakotos said. “We’re very grateful to Chamber Music America for giving us this opportunity to develop an innovative program that connects with the community in new ways.”

The presentations about African influences on classical music tie in with SUNY Oswego’s “Arts, Identity and Diaspora” program theme on the experiences of those displaced from their homelands.

Created more than 30 years ago, Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program supports community-based residencies with the goal of bringing live ensemble music to rural, urban and suburban areas. The program is supported by JPMorgan Chase, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Chamber Music America Residency Endowment Fund.

Tickets to the Nov. 11 evening concert cost $15 ($10 for seniors and children, $5 for SUNY Oswego students) and are available through Tyler box office at 312-2141 or Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Reaching audiences—The Imani Winds quintet will play SUNY Oswego’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 in the Sheldon Hall ballroom and interact with schools and members of the community through a four-day Chamber Music America-funded residency. From left are Torin Spellman-Diaz on oboe, Jeff Scott on French horn, composer/arranger Valerie Coleman on flute, Monica Ellis on bassoon and Miriam Adam on clarinet.

CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581 or

(Posted: Oct 21, 2009)