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by Kathleen Andersen, Communications Coordinator, The Midwest Clinic

2010 Midwest Clinic attendees will have the opportunity to hear a special piece when the Clements High School Chamber Strings performs. This ensemble from Sugar Land, Texas, decided to celebrate their appearance at the conference by commissioning a new work from Fred J. Allen, “The Mill and the Train.”

Director Ginger Wolfe invited her young musicians to participate in the commission project, and they dived right in, raising money to make it possible and submitting stories to inspire the composer. Wolfe selected a story that re-tells Sugar Land’s history as a nineteenth-century company town. Its founding residents worked for Imperial Sugar, and the community was anchored by the sugar mill and the railroad that shipped its product away. Wolfe explained that the resulting piece has a Southern blues sound, “You can imagine sitting on the back porch, drinking ice tea and watching the cane grow as you listen to it.”

The Clements High School Orchestra Program began in 1991 and has already grown into one of Texas’s premier high school programs. It has received numerous honors and awards. The Clements High School Chamber Strings consistently place in the top level of the state Honor Orchestra. The Clements High School Symphony performed at The Midwest Clinic in 2000, was selected as the 2002 Texas Music Educators Association State Honor Orchestra, and was awarded the 2008-09 Mark of Excellence National Orchestra Award. Wolfe believes that the program’s success stems from its outstanding students and their overwhelming desire to interpret and express the music behind the notes on the page.

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