main content starts herePinewood orchestra students eagerly await commissioned piece

| December 6, 2016

When Pinewood fourth and fifth grade orchestra students take the stage for their spring concert next June, they’ll be playing a very special piece of music.

In fact, it will be the world premiere of a yet-to-be-named composition that’s being written specially for the students.

Mohonasen music teacher and orchestra director Nancy Felberbaum said she was approached about the commission after last spring’s concert. A parent of one of her music students works in the music publishing industry and wanted to arrange for a composer to write a special piece for the orchestra and school.

While she’s heard of groups receiving commissioned pieces during her years of teaching music and directing orchestra, Felberbaum has never had one of her groups receive such a generous gift.

“It’s very exciting and really pretty cool that this piece is being written specifically for the Pinewood students,” she said.

Felberbaum said she was consulted by the composer, Lorie Gruneisen, as part of the process.

“It will be tailor-written for this group based on their strengths and interests,” Felberbaum said. “I gave her specifics about the group; what they like, what they don’t like.”

Felberbaum said the approximately 70 Pinewood orchestra students will have the opportunity to meet and work with the composer. And, they’re thrilled that a music piece is being written for them.

“I thought I’d have to sell it to the students, but I think they get it,” said Felberbaum. “When I told them about the commission, they were really excited that it is being written specifically for them.”

After Pinewood’s 4th-5th grade orchestra performs the June 8, 2017 world premiere, the piece will be published in September 2017 by Kendor Music, Inc. Each cover published will include the text: Written for the Pinewood Elementary 4-5th Grade Orchestra, Mohonasen School District (Rotterdam NY), Nancy Felberbaum, director.

That means that once the piece is published, other school orchestras can purchase the music.

“Their own children could someday play the piece,” said Felberbaum. “It’s pretty cool.”

For now, Felberbaum is eagerly awaiting her first glimpse at the music and encouraging her students to practice, practice, practice.

“Knowing the composer is coming to hear them, they understand they need to present something extra special,” she said.