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Summerville Orchestra seeks leader for new education initiative

S.O. Youth Orchestra Conductor/Education Coordinator

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET

The Summerville Orchestra announced efforts to collaborate with the education community, specifically through the creation of a brand-new, youth string orchestra program, music advocacy initiatives, and mentorship opportunities.

In line with the S.O.’s strategic goals to promote and enhance music education in our area, the Summerville Orchestra seeks a dynamic, energetic, passionate, and dedicated musician/educator/conductor to lead this new education initiative. A priority on the S.O. 's strategic plan is to create a youth string orchestra to enhance our young citizens’ love of music, while also promoting their musical growth and development. This new ensemble will be composed of students from grades 6-10 from the surrounding areas outlined below. It will directly strengthen, reinforce, and enhance the string pedagogy of our local school districts and teachers from the private, public-school districts, and home-school communities of the Summerville area. These include, but are not limited to, Dorchester, Berkeley, and Charleston counties. The opportunity to participate in the ensemble will be offered at no cost to students or their families. The ideal candidate will be a passionate self-starter with a demonstrated record of success leading youth ensemble(s). The director will be directly responsible for the growth of this ensemble, including all recruitment and retention of young musicians, and leading them in weekly rehearsals in preparation for the ensemble’s three yearly concerts. In addition, the S.O. aims to engage 3rd-5th grade students directly in the classroom to help them get into their middle school and high school music classes. The ideal candidate will be able to craft fun and engaging 30-45-minute music lessons for students. We envision the ideal candidate working closely with the surrounding school districts and homeschool communities to create opportunities to get students in front of music. Finally, the S.O. wishes to enhance the community by creating opportunities for high school students who wish to pursue music post K-12 education. The ideal candidate will work with the student’s music teacher as well as local colleges to enhance and broaden the musical opportunities students have access to.

Salary

  • Part-time employment equal to: .5 time (or, 20 hours per week)
  • Compensation: $20,000/yr.
Candidates are encouraged to expand their work as necessary to meet the needs of their lifestyle, but not to exceed their abilities within the orchestra. Summerville has a vibrant cultural and music scene, and is located just outside of Charleston, a music hub of the southeast. Opportunities such as private lessons, wedding performances, additional orchestral performances, and summer camps are very easy to take hold of to provide additional necessary means. As part of a compensation package, candidates will also be eligible to apply for professional development through the Summerville Orchestra and Dorchester District 2, and interested candidates may seek private conducting lessons and training with Music Director Wojciech Milewski. The Summerville Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws.

Qualifications

  • Youth orchestra directorship experience strongly preferred
  • Orchestral, instrumental or string ensemble conducting, and rehearsal experience required
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree (or higher) preferred
  • Vast experience with string instruments and pedagogy, including a successful performance history
  • A proven record of success with ensembles and orchestra
  • All candidates will have a background check passed through SLED for both the orchestra and the school districts.
  • Note: A teaching certification in South Carolina is NOT required

Responsibilities

Youth Orchestra

  • Create a positive, welcoming, and inviting atmosphere in all youth orchestra events, such as rehearsals and performances, to foster camaraderie and love of music
  • Programming appropriate repertoire for the group based on instrumentation, level, size of group, etc.
  • Recruit, retain and grow string orchestra through network of Dorchester, Berkeley, Charleston County school districts, home-school communities, private and religious school districts, and more
  • Hold auditions and create appropriate seating charts
  • Lead weekly ensemble rehearsals
  • Lead the youth orchestra in 3 yearly performances to coincide with the school year and SO season.
  • Report directly to S.O. Music Director Wojciech Milewski

Music Advocate/School Specialist

  • Work with local elementary school music teachers/ homeschool communities to create a fun engaging seminar for students to want to join orchestra in middle school
  • Work with local middle school orchestra teachers and provide help with sectionals, additional help, or as a step-in/guest conductor.
  • Mentor local high school orchestra teachers to create a plan for students who wish to major or minor in music.
  • Assisting as needed with S.O. music director (not to exceed maximum work time)
  • Act as cover conductor for all S.O. performances, in collaboration with Music Director Wojciech Milewski
  • Assisting with set up and tear down for S.O. rehearsals and performances when necessary

S.O. Logistical Support

To aid in the success of the program, the Summerville Orchestra will be responsible for:
  • securing venues for performances and rehearsals, including chairs, stands.
  • providing sheet music as requested by Youth Orchestra Conductor/Education Coordinator
  • support committee of teachers from private, home-school and public sectors to aid in recruitment, mentorship, and strategy
  • providing clinician support for coaching, sectionals, and more to enhance offerings for students.

Application Process

Please submit the following materials to the Summerville Orchestra at apply@summervilleorchestra.org no later than 11:59 p.m. ET, Sunday, August 7, 2022. In the subject line, please be sure to include “SOYSO Conductor/Education Coordinator Application – Your Name” Resumé or CV, specifically outlining previous teaching and performance experience
  • Cover letter expressing your desire to lead and grow this pilot program As part of your cover letter, please include a one-two paragraph view point on your pedagogical ideas
  • 2-4 conducting clips; at least 1 clip to show teaching and/or rehearsal technique with string students
    • Clips not to exceed 3 minutes in length; do not include more than 4 clips
    • Clips can be uploaded either via email or through YouTube links
  • 3-5 references
Finalists will be notified no later than EOB Monday, Aug. 8,  2022. Final interviews will be conducted Aug. 15, 2022 (preferably in-person, in Summerville, South Carolina). Start date for this position is Sept. 1, 2022.

About the Summerville Orchestra

Made up of musicians from Summerville and surrounding communities, the Summerville Orchestra was founded by a small group of musicians to play orchestral music for the pure joy of it. Some were professionals, others were amateurs; all were volunteers, including the director, George Frink, of Charleston. In 2005, Alexander Agrest was named music director, a position he held until 2015. After an international search, Wojciech Milewski was chosen as music director in July 2016. Today, the Summerville Orchestra is a thriving orchestra, playing to sold out houses at the Summers Corner Performing Arts Center, offering diverse and innovative programming options, and continuously cultivating community relations. The orchestra offers several outreach series in the Summerville area and maintains strong relationships with several community partners.

Submitted material

Summerville Orchestra’s new conductor says ‘arts are ready to explode’

From the Charleston Post and Courier Article by Alison Graham

With the flick of his baton, he can control the winds, the brass, the drums. Wojciech Milewski holds the thin piece of wood with his thumb, middle and pointer fingers, keeping the rhythm of the music and translating the composer’s intentions through subtle movements and gestures as he cues the instruments. Conducting is physical, requiring the conductor to dip, bend his knees and thrust his arms in a dance that can be quiet or dramatic depending on the score. The flow of the composition is dependent on his leadership. Milewski has a talent for conducting, says Naomi Nimmo, executive director of the Summerville Community Orchestra. The orchestra’s board of directors offered Milewski a three-year position as their full-time conductor at the end of May. He officially started July 1. And it’s an exciting time for an orchestra in a town like Summerville. “It’s a place where the arts are ready to explode,” Milewski says. “I can sense this kind of feeling that the community is ready to be taken over by art.” Milewski is looking forward to helping guide that artistic explosion through expansions and outreach programs as conductor of the orchestra. He said he likes to push the envelope and bring in music that challenges the ears of listeners. Milewski didn’t grow up in a family of musicians, so the music that resonates with him can resonate with audiences who may not be familiar with classical music, he says. Growing audience The Summerville Community Orchestra was founded in 2003. At that time, musicians would look out to an audience of about 60 people. Now, they see close to 1,000. The orchestra’s core membership is volunteer-based, ranging from middle school musicians to their oldest player, who is 80. “When you’re a musician and you love music and you get to play it with all these other people who love it, it’s a pure joy,” Nimmo says. “And that’s what we offer them.” One of the orchestra’s missions is to help adults continue playing orchestral instruments, which they often stop pursuing once they enter college or start careers. “It’s one of my reasons for being involved in the orchestra,” says SCO board chair and singer Diane Rodwell. “I think it’s so important for adults to have the opportunity to continue their passion.” The volunteer aspect is something that attracted Milewski to apply for the conductor position a few months ago. Sharing music with people who don’t perform for a living provides him with a different perspective as a conductor, he says. Sixty-three people from around the world applied for the position, and the board selected the best four applicants to lead one concert in a series. Afterward, the musicians and audience filled out a detailed survey about the conductor. When Milewski conducted, the audience said they could feel his energy with the musicians from the beginning. ‘A great future’ Milewski, 27, graduated with a master’s in orchestral conducting from the University of New Mexico, and has been conducting for five years. He started as a piano and clarinet performance major, but when he conducted a musical during his senior year of college, he was hooked. Everything Milewski loves about music is wrapped up in conducting, he says. He can experience musical theory, history and each instrument when he conducts a singular piece. Nimmo says Milewski’s talent is beyond his years. What has taken him five years to achieve, usually takes conductors 20 years of experience. He has an energy and connection with the audience they haven’t seen before. “He’s really a great future for the Summerville Orchestra,” she says. “He’s very special.” Milewski’s first concert with the Summerville Orchestra will be the annual 9/11 memorial concert Sept. 9. After that, he will be in charge of conducting the regular four-concert season starting in early November. Nimmo says the board will be announcing the shows of the new season in a few weeks. The goal is to make the orchestra relevant in the lives of Summerville residents and the greater tri-county area. And not just the orchestra, but music in general. “Music literally gets into your body,” Milewski says. “It enters your mind and your ears and affects you in a certain way if you let it. When we use music to sort of tell that story, whether it’s personal or not, I think that’s a really beautiful experience.”