Learning in Concert Concludes with Star Party

By New Bedford Symphony Orchestra | May 09, 2017
Photo by: Richard Van Inwegen M.I.T. Planetary Scientist Amanda Bosh with attending student

On Saturday May 6th, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra celebrated the completion of their year-long exploration of gravity in space and music with a free Star Party at the Buttonwood Park Zoo.  Over 200 participating students and their families attended.  This year's "Learning in Concert" program partnered with 55 schools throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island in a three-phase program where children heard and composed harmonic chord cycles that imitated the gravitational pull between the sun and a planet in our solar system. The NBSO partnered with M.I.T.'s planetary scientist, Amanda Bosh to bring telescopes and M.I.T. students to the Buttonwood Park Zoo for this culminating star-gazing event. The event also featured ​demonstrations of ​the new Science ​O​n a Sphere®​ ​in the ​Zoo's ​Wildlife ​Education Center where children could learn about space through video projections on a giant, suspended sphere. 

Students from Our Sister School (OSS), Nativity Preparatory School and New Bedford Symphony Youth Orchestra designed and ran science and music exhibits and activities for the Star Party attendees. Our Sister School’s Students in Action Team created various activities including a green screen where attendees could use props and various space-themed backgrounds to picture themselves in space. Other activities demonstrated computer coding and new technologies to link explorations in science and music.  Three students, Thania Martinez, Alejandra Mendez and Rhyan Pina served as lead planners for the Star Party Event.  Nativity Prep students designed and constructed an eight-foot gravity well that allowed for hands-on experimentation. Jamie Dugas, student pianist, performed Mercury chord cycles on the piano that were composed by the attending children.

Terry Wolkowicz, New Bedford Symphony Education Director, Carrie Hawthorne, Curator of Education at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, Tobey Eugenio, S.T.E.A.M. Teacher at Our Sister School, M.I.T. Senior Lecturer Amanda Bosh, and Jack Doyle, Nativity Prep teacher collaborated to present this fun and educational experience to close out this year's "Learning in Concert" program. Over the past several years, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and Buttonwood Park Zoo have collaborated to explore shared concepts in science and music. Last year, the two organizations partnered to connect the concept of motion and adaptations in tetrapod locomotion to motion and adaptation in melodic motion. “This partnership between the symphony and the Zoo allows our students to explore a shared concept through multiple contexts; through sight, sound and hands-on experimentation. At the same time, these experiences help  children to build deeply connected relationships with both organizations,” said Wolkowicz.  Carrie Hawthorne from the Buttonwood Park Zoo also commented on their partnerships saying, “The Buttonwood Park Zoo is thrilled to collaborate with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, to provide an opportunity to bring music and scientific concepts together making learning easier for the students of the Southcoast.”

Next year, NBSO's "Learning in Concert" will move on to explore the concept of balance in classical music and ecosystems in a new program entitled, “The Orchestra as Ecosystem: Symphony Symbiosis.”

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