On December 11th, the 7th and 8th grade band performed “Nevermore”. The piece, written by Brian Balmages, was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”—so 7th and 8th grade English and art classes have been helping the band with this piece.

To learn more about this collaboration, we interviewed the band teacher, Mr. Mordhorst.

1. How did you choose this piece?

After a very successful collaboration with the 8th grade English department last year, I wanted a piece that would help us expand on this project. Nevermore, based on one of the most iconic poems of all time, The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, allowed us an opportunity to work together with 7th and 8th grade English, as well as 7th Grade Visual Art. The music is exciting, interesting, and it follows the poem very closely. It is fun to perform, and presents an appropriate level of challenge for the band.

2. Why did you ask the English classes for help with this piece?

When performing music that is based on literature, playing the music is only part of it. When the band gets to know the inspiration for the piece, they are able to connect with it, as musicians and artists. Knowing all of the background can influence our performance choices, enriching the sound of the piece. We have extremely talented English teachers here, who, in the spirit of collaboration and lifelong learning, have done more than just teach The Raven to their classes. They have also listened to and studied the music, and found ways in which the poem connects to the music.

3. How did the English classes help?

The concert is always a celebration of student achievement. Now, not only do we have the performance to show for it, but student work in other disciplines will also be on display. It’s great to be able to showcase the ways in which our students are multi-talented, and this couldn’t have happened without the support of all the teachers involved.

Here’s the result of this collaboration: