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CMS middle school makes history with a new piece of music

Eighth graders from Jay M. Robinson are set to make history with the performance of a new piece of music inspired by a digital art piece created by one of it's own.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group of eighth graders from Jay M. Robinson Middle School are on their way to make history this week.

The students, who are members of the school's band, will be performing a new piece of music called "Fanfare for the Extraordinary Woman." 

The piece was inspired by a digital art piece created by one of the students, Kathryn Wu.

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"Most of this came naturally, it was just kind of like a mixture of ideas," Wu said about the digital art piece. "I didn't really create this piece with any like meaning in mind, because I felt that was what the composer was supposed to do, like, give meaning to my piece." 

Credit: Courtesy: Kathryn Wu

Her digital art piece depicts a woman conductor leading an orchestra. The piece is a celebration of women's strength and power. According to the League of American Orchestras, women represent less than 15% of the conductors of major orchestras.

"I could not think of a better way to portray a piece of art than to do something that was empowering to women,"  Ian Faris, director of bands and choral activities at Jay M. Robinson, said.

Faris coordinated with the school's art teacher Melissa Leftwich to get the art piece created. 

"She gave me like complete freedom to do whatever I wanted," Wu said. "But I still decided to stick with the band since it is a piece for the band and to be played by the band." 

Faris saw the art piece and was immediately inspired. 

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He contacted a friend, Mekel Rogers, who is a composer, and asked him to write a piece of music based on the art piece.

"I said, 'hey, I've got a student here, who's done a piece of art, could you do a composition based off of this piece of art,'" Faris said. "And he said, 'of course, I'd be glad to.'"

The musical piece, which is called "Fanfare for the Extraordinary Woman," is a powerful and inspiring piece of music. It is a celebration of women's strength, courage, and determination. 

"If you look at the drawing, you could tell there's a spiral motion and it's like it's a repeat of a different type of different patterns," Braden Suggs, an eighth grader at Jay M. Robinson Middle School who plays the trumpet, said. 

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Suggs said the artwork and the composed music match perfectly. 

Rogers's compositions for concert bands are published by the FJH Music Company. FJH Music Company is a music publisher that specializes in educational music for bands, orchestras, and choirs. 

"After we premiere it, he will submit it to the publishing company," Faris said. 

The students of Jay M. Robinson Middle School are making history Tuesday night with their performance of "Fanfare for the Extraordinary Woman."

"It's really exciting because I'm able to be on the recording of the first world premiere of this piece," Delaney Santoro, an eighth grader at Jay M. Robinson Middle School who plays the clarinet, said. 

Wu will be in the audience on Tuesday. 

"It definitely makes it feel like so much bigger than I expected it would be and it's a good feeling to have," Wu said. 

Shamarria Morrison: Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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