Randolph Public School students recently engaged in an artists-in-residency program entitled, “Symphony in the Schools.”

The residency, which is a partnership with South Shore Conservatory, offers students an opportunity to experience workshops, interactive music making, master classes and performances with the community school for the arts faculty members.

Percussionist Ed Sorrentino, chair of the Conservatory’s Jazz/Pop/Rock Department, led the program, the second of three artists-in-residency programs scheduled for the 2012-2013 school year.

In November, the partnership kicked off with education and performances provided by Conservatory Brass Department faculty members. The third session, scheduled for May, will provide opportunities for students to work with members of the Conservatory’s Woodwind Department.

Eric Laprade, chair of the Randolph Public Schools Music Department, is passionate about building a “world class music curriculum” in the school system. The music department’s full-time eight-member faculty has been growing its program and say they needed to advance their program with supplementary faculty resources.

Currently, two-thirds of the district’s K-12 students are enrolled in in-school music classes. The artists-in-residency partnership with South Shore Conservatory was identified as a way of adding depth to the program.

Laprade has worked to identify funding for “Symphony in the Schools” and to see the program into fruition. With help from the Conservatory’s development staff, Laprade obtained grants from the Randolph PTO Council, the Randolph Education Fund, MMEA Future Symphony Hall Scholars, the Bank of Canton and Randolph Savings Bank.

“The partnership between South Shore Conservatory and the Randolph Public Schools has had a tremendous impact on the students of Randolph,” Laprade said. “We have raised the level of musicianship and appreciation for the arts in the schools. Most importantly, our students are excited about making music. It is my hope that this partnership will become a model for other school districts as we all share the common goal of providing students with the highest quality education possible.”

South Shore Conservatory forms artists-in-residency partnerships to fulfill its mission of “providing access to quality education in the arts.”  Through Community Partnerships, the Conservatory creates programs to reach out to students with financial need or from low-income communities; students who attend schools that lack adequate arts curriculum budgets; and special needs students of all ages and abilities. The Randolph Public School district was chosen for the “Symphony in the Schools” partnership because of the enthusiasm of school faculty and administrators to work with the Conservatory to address specific needs within the schools.

“One of the highlights from the brass residency in November was watching a group of kindergarten students sit in the front row of the auditorium and listen in awe to a performance of Anthony Plog’s ‘Trio for Brass,’ ” Laprade said. “These are the types of experiences that the ‘Symphony in the Schools’ program encourages, and why the program is so vital to the curriculum in Randolph.”

A facet of each Randolph residency is a community concert featuring the faculty musicians and selected students. The recent “Percussion Palooza” concert offered the students a chance to share the experience of the residency with their families and engage the residents of Randolph in the experience of live performance.

“One of the main goals of the ‘Symphony in the Schools’ program is to build a culture of high level music making in the Town of Randolph,” Laprade said. “If we expect our children to make music at a high level, then we have a responsibility to expose them to musical experiences of the highest quality.  Community and family investment in the arts is crucial to seeing our students succeed and flourish. The community concert that concludes each residency is a way for students, families, faculty, and community members to experience the joy that arises out of music making.”

For information about South Shore Conservatory’s Community Partnership and Artists-in-Residency program, visit http://www.sscmusic.org/