Cochran Wrenn Duo and Marlborough High School students collaborate on composition

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Cochran Wrenn Duo.
Cochran Wrenn Duo. Photo/Emily Ashman

Marlborough – In May 2017, the Cochran Wrenn Duo in conjunction with composer Cody Forrest and Marlborough High School (MHS) Wind Ensemble under the direction of Gary Piazza, launched an innovative 12-month partnership, called InConcert, to increase engagement with the arts through the process of composing and performing a concertino for flute, guitar and band.

Bonnie Cochran, flutist and a resident of Marlborough, started this project with guitarist Bryan Wrenn as a way to support the music education program in the local schools. The Duo commissioned Cody Forrest to write the concertino, and began working with the MHS students in May 2017, teaching the students the tools a composer uses to create a composition and the process he/she goes through to create a new piece. They guided the students in creating rhythms and melodies and gathered input from the students that would influence the direction of the commissioned concertino. The musicians and composer are continuing to work with the students throughout the 12-month project, discussing Cody’s progress on the composition and working with the students to develop a shared interpretation of the work. The students also have the opportunity to participate in a multimedia blog (www.cochranwrennduo.com/blog) chronicling the progress of InConcert, and work alongside the musicians and composer in preparing the composition, entitled Lux Arcana, for performance on April 26, 2018.

    InConcert is in line with Harvard Education Professor Howard Gardner’s description of an effective arts education program, where artistic learning is organized around “meaningful projects, which are carried out over a significant period of time, and allow ample opportunity for feedback, discussion, and reflection.” In addition to the clear benefits for deepening the students’ experiences of music, the Cochran Wrenn Duo will provide engaging and enriching experiences for the local community through three community chamber music concerts (May 7, 2017, March 14, 2018 and May 20, 2018).

According to MHS Wind Ensemble Director, Gary Piazza, “What is particularly beneficial with this endeavor is the far reaching impact this will have on our students.” InConcert is an educational initiative and an opportunity to inspire emotional investment in the arts. It has been recognized for its innovative approach to music education with the Boston Conservatory Alumni Entrepreneurial Award, 2 Marlborough Cultural Council Grants, and as a finalist in the 2016 National Flute Association Arts Venture Competition.