Litchfield High School
14 Plumb Hill Rd.
Litchfield, CT 06759

LMS/LHS Spring Music Concert
 celebrating "Life in Litchfield"
featuring "Dreams of Citizens"
with Grammy Award Winner Paul Winter
Thursday, April 12, 2018 @ LHS Gym
The idea for commissioning an original composition for the LMS/LHS Music Department has been under consideration for several years. Being able to experience a piece of music as it evolves from a seed idea into a fully realized composition is a truly unique and invaluable experience for young musicians. Through a generous anonymous donation, additional funding and enthusiastic support from the Litchfield Education Foundation, and in collaboration with ASAP! and the Litchfield Historical Society, this idea has finally become a reality for all LMS/LHS music students in the 2017-18 school year.

~ photos courtesy of Visko Hatfield

With the funding for this experience coinciding with the approaching 300th anniversary of the town of Litchfield, a concept emerged to focus the project on celebrating “Life in Litchfield”...from its rich history to the modern perspectives of our current students. Paul Winter, Grammy Award winning composer and enthusiastic resident of Litchfield, immediately came to mind as the natural choice to compose this piece for our students.

With the idea and composer in place, this collaborative experience started to take shape right from the beginning of the school year. In the fall, Mr. Winter offered two Adventures in SoundPlay sessions, exploratory experiences in “free play” for all ages and ability levels. Over 80 students, as young as 10, and adult community members attended these two evening sessions.

Students outside of the music classroom were invited to collaborate in this experience throughout the school year, as well. High school art students were asked to create designs for a poster/program cover on the theme of “Life in Litchfield.” The artwork on the cover of this program came from that experience. High school creative writing students were asked to write poems on their reflections of “Life in Litchfield.”  Those poems were given to Mr. Winter for gleaning ideas and inspiration as part of his compositional process. A booklet of those student poems has been printed and is available for your review this evening. Lastly, high school students were invited to contact the Litchfield Historical Society to explore their online resources for interesting historical storylines and quotes that ultimately provided inspiration for the composition.

As the new year arrived, Mr. Winter’s vision for the composition started to take shape...a four movement work entitled “Dreams of Citizens.”  For the past three months, Mr. Winter has made several visits with the LMS/LHS Bands and Choirs, as well as multiple sessions with smaller groups of students to rehearse and refine this work.  True to the original idea of commissioning a composition, our students have authentically experienced the unique creative processes, challenges, and joys of bringing a musical idea to life.

The culmination of a year of collaborative efforts was presented as the grand final of the annual LMS/LHS Spring Concert, which was held in the LHS Gymnasium on Thursday, April 12th. The debut performance of “Dreams of Citizens” was met with an extended standing ovation by a full house.  The LMS/LHS Music Department now looks ahead in hopes that “Dreams of Citizens” endures to be part of the celebration of Litchfield’s 300th anniversary next year.

Dan Porri
Instrumental Music Teacher, 7-12