Thursday, March 20, 2014

Whitman Elementary string ensemble crosses hearing threshold

It's unusual enough to say that a group of violinists in grades 5-6 would be performing with one of San Diego's top orchestras, the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra.
Whitman strings performers
It's even more unusual that half of the ensemble, the Whitman Strings, from Whitman Elementary School in Clairemont, are either deaf or hard-of-hearing. Under the direction of San San Blain, an instrumental music teacher, the students performed with the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra on March 9.

"The Whitman Strings is a special performance group consisting of 5th and 6th grade violin students in the music program," said Susan Aaberg, one of the teachers at Whitman. Students volunteer to attend extra rehearsals, memorize their music and participate in special performances.

"What makes this group unique is that half of these students have 'normal' hearing and half of them are deaf or hard-of-hearing," said Aaberg.

Whitman elementary school is the designated school for children with hearing loss who are learning to communicate through listening and spoken language instead of sign language. There are approximately 80 deaf/hard-or-hearing students at Whitman, aged 3 years through grade 6.Whitman Strings

"At Whitman, the DHH students are “just Whitman kids,” she said. "They participate in running club, music class, band, and ASB. They play sports, take karate, join a dance company, speak two languages, succeed scholastically and yes, even play violin."

For more information on the program, contact Aaberg at