Children perform "Playground Suite" (Jon Snidal)
To see young children performing their own music with a professional orchestra was unthinkable for me before meeting Marcelline.
—Helen La Rue, colleague of Marcelline Moody
"I love what I do for various reasons," relates Marcelline Moody, a long-time performer, composer, arranger and teacher in Winnipeg. "Mostly because I believe that the classical arts provide beauty and elegance in our lives and no one could say that there is too much of these in the world - quite the contrary - so by introducing kids to 'classical' music, dance, art, drama, and encouraging them to make the arts part of their lives, we make the world a better place."
been called "The mother of music in Manitoba" by the Winnipeg Free
Press. Having worked for decades in the Winnipeg school system, the
teacher has spear-headed large-scale collaborative works involving
children from many schools. This diminutive bundle of energy and
creativity has touched the lives of tens of thousands of students in
"By involving kids in music making in such a hands-on and active way, I hope we are encouraging audiences for the future," says Moody.
Moody's students compose works for orchestra
Her students have performed at National Orff Conferences with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, for which they actually composed works. Highlights include Galaxia for the WSO's prestigious New Music Festival; a work called A Renaissance Garden Ritual, inspired by R. Murray Schaefer; King Midas and the Golden Touch and A Playground Suite.
"Marcelline has an amazing ability to connect with kids and engage them in music making and learning," enthuses Tanya Derksen.
Derksen works with Moody on the Adventures in Music
education series with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In that
capacity, Moody connects closely with music teachers and their students
to prepare them for concert-going and participation.
"She walks into a classroom and immediately grabs their attention. She has a unique ability to make each child feel special... She really is a pedagogical master."
Moody connects young performers to professional classical performance
Vicki Young, managing director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra has been impressed by how Moody can communicate very complex ideas to the children and then watch them enter into the spirit of the moment. "She's very good at setting a framework but then allowing the children to have their own very high level creative input into whatever the project is."
For example, the children's opera King Midas and the Golden Touch was one of Moody's crowning achievements, so to speak. It was a real tour de force
involving students from no less than six schools, aged nine to 11. The
students performed the opera with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
Amazingly, she got the children working with medieval modes,
naming the characters after each of the modes. The project enabled
children to study music, composition, dance and drama. "As well, we
touched on history, geography, mythology, architecture, costume and
ancient Greek Drama," Moody added. Imagine.
It's not just the kids who have benefited. Moody has also had an incredible impact on thousands of teachers in Manitoba and around the world as an Orff instructor. And Moody strongly believes in the Orff philosophy - an approach to music education emphasizing learning through doing, and improvisation.
"There is no doubt that music improves brain function," Moody insists. "Throughout my teaching of the Orff approach to music education, which is music allied with movement, speech and improvisation, I have seen improvements in concentration, coordination, problem solving, reading skills, so a child's education is enriched."
Marcelline Moody is currently working with elementary school children, helping them discover how music inspires dance, imagery, movies and movement. It's all in preparation for performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 22 and 23. Concerts will also feature an aerial artist, a variety of dancers.