In this episode, #digitalAPS: Exploring Instructional Frontiers chronicles the role technology played in enriching The Sevdah Commission Project. This project was a collaboration between three APS music teachers and resulted in the creation and world premiere of “Songbook: Concerto for Oboe and Winds.”
This piece was composed by H-B Woodlawn band director Carl Holmquist, commissioned and performed by oboist and Tuckahoe Elementary School music teacher Katelyn Kyser, and premiered by the Yorktown High School Symphonic Band under the direction of Brian Bersh. This concerto is an educational and musical response to the 20th anniversary of the end of the siege of Sarajevo, and features the Bosnian folk tradition sevdahlinka.
Throughout this project, Yorktown band students learned about the events of the Bosnian War, the siege of Sarajevo, and the history and culture of this region all through the lens of its rich musical tradition. Technology opened doors to students as they were able to bring authentic musical examples into the classroom, view images of the city of Sarajevo, and see the devastation caused by the war. This work was fully humanized through a Skype session with Adi Sehu, piccolo player with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra. With the aid of technology, students were able to experience a culture so far away from our own homes and connect with the people who call these folk traditions their own.