Tis The Season: Holidays and Residencies -- Weekly Inspiration from Clark

Happy Thanksgiving, Fifth House Fans!  This week's Weekly Inspiration comes from5HE violist, Clark.  Since Clark begins his post referencing the holidays, I want to take a quick second to say THANK YOU to all of the loyal followers of Fifth House Ensemble.  We wouldn't be as successful as we are without your support.  Thank you for reading this blog, and thank you for coming to our concerts!  And now, here's Clark reflecting on the season -- both the holiday season and Residency Season! 


Now that it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, I’ll finally and happily go along with all the stores, radio stations, city of Evanston, and all other parties who declared the start of the holiday season weeks ago. Here at Fifth House Ensemble, however, it’s a different season that has us really jumping - Residency Season!

We just launched residencies at New Field Elementary School in Chicago and Cambridge Lakes Charter School in Pingree Grove, and our annual residency at Chicago’s Mather High School kicks off in two weeks. Matt’s most recent blog post hopefully lit an inspirational fire in all the teachers out there, so today I’m going to quickly touch on how these residencies inspire me. And perhaps the best way to do that is by recounting how Eric and I were greeted right as we were setting up for Visit No. 1 with the Cambridge Lakes third graders two weeks ago.

Like all good musicians we were about 20 minutes early, and the students we’d be working with were still in class. But as Eric was unloading 40 pounds of bass (his instrument, not fish) and I was fiddling with speakers and white boards, the fourth graders had a class change. Their path brought them right past us, and immediately a few of the boys shouted out, “Hey, it’s Fifth House!” “Are you here to visit us?!” “I remember you guys!” “Can you work with our class again this year?!” “You’re Karl, right?” So. Awesome. (Too bad I had to tell that last child that, alas, I am not Karl. God bless him - the kids really dig Karl.)

See, we had worked with these students last spring when they were third graders. And witnessing their instant recognition of us and their sincere enthusiasm to talk with us was just about the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. This kind of totally unexpected greeting makes all the prep work, the conference calls at 8am, the background research on the students’ school topics, and the early mornings to get to schools across Chicagoland absolutely worth the effort. Also these students' totally unexpected greeting makes me truly hope the answer to the fourth question up there is, “Yes! We will be working with your class again this year.”


The above photo is of Drew, Clark, and Eric performing in a residency concert at Mather High School.