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Decoda with Claire Bryant to perform at FAC Thursday

Posted: January 21, 2014 4:28 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The members of Decoda chamber ensemble, lead by Claire Bryant, entered the gym at North Central Middle School one by one, each playing their respective instrument. The students of the eighth grade sat, rapt with attention, as the instruments’ melodies blended in unison before them.

“What is the message in this music?” Bryant asked the audience. “What is the music saying to you? What is the mood, the vibe? What are we as musicians saying to each other and what are we saying to you?”

Tuesday’s concert marked the first of several the ensemble will play in Kershaw County schools during its week-long residency here. NCMS joins Camden Middle, Camden High, Lugoff-Elgin Middle, North Central High and Doby’s Mill Elementary schools along with the Continuous Learning Center that will host Decoda this week.

Bryant told students at NCMS that Decoda, a chamber ensemble comprised of virtuoso musicians, entrepreneurs and passionate advocates of the arts, wanted to explore the idea of communication with them throughout the interactive concert.

Dr. Alisa Goodman, the Kershaw County School District’s executive director for instructional support systems, described Decoda’s performances in the district’s schools as “a wonderful opportunity for the students to become engaged and to learn more about the ensemble, the instruments and what it means to be a musician.”

“This is a great program for our students because it exposes them to an educational opportunity they might not see otherwise,” Goodman said.

The concert proved to be an interactive experience as Bryant and other Decoda members asked students to comment on their responses to the music. Bryant instructed students to move to what the music made them feel.

Student Jimmy Inman was particularly moved, and joined the ensemble to lead his classmates in a head bob/fist pump combination.

“Think about the various ways we communicate through music,” Bryant reminded her young listeners.

Along with the school concerts, Decoda will perform at Morningside Assisted Living Facility, the Venue on Broad, the Kershaw County Board of Disabilities Special Needs facility in east Camden and the Lee County Correctional Institution. The group will also perform during a public concert at the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Bryant enjoys an active and diverse career in New York City. She has collaborated with world-class artists such as Daniel Hope, Anthony Marwood, Emanual Ax, Sir Simon Rattle, Dawn Upshaw, the Wellerstein Trio and members of the Peabody Trio, Saint Lawrence String Quartet and Danish String Quartet among others. She regularly performs with acclaimed chamber ensembles in New York City. A graduate of The Julliard School and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Bryant is a 2010 recipient of the Robert Sherman McGraw Hill Companies award for excellence in community outreach and music education.

The artists of Decoda have a background of shared training and experience as fellows in the two-year leadership program known as Ensemble ACJW The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, the Julliard School and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. Since its inception in 2011, Decoda’s residencies have touched audiences in schools, hospitals, prisons and bars, as well as in renowned concert halls across the globe. Decoda is the resident ensemble at Greenwich House Music School in New York’s historic West Village and its first season included engagements at various festivals. Camden Middle, Camden High, Lugoff-Elgin Middle, North Central Middle, North Central High, Doby’s Mill Elementary and the Continuous Learning Center.

The week-long residency will feature Bryant on cello, Owen Dalby and Anna Elashvili on violins, Meena Bhasin on viola and Sarah Beaty on clarinet.

Decoda’s Thursday performance will include a catered reception along with a cash bar in conjunction with the opening of “Boykin,” which features the works of Lisa Boykin Adams and Marti Boykin Wallace in the Bassett Gallery. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tickets to Decoda with Claire Bryant are $30 advance (adult), $35 day of (adult), and a student price of $15. The other two performances in the chamber music series are Edward Arron and Friends, Feb. 11 and Decoda with Claire Bryant, April 3.

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