Community Engagement Projects

The Bernal Hill Players and Composing Together

In 2013 The Bernal Hill Players started working in schools with Composing Together, the brainchild of composer Katrina Wreede . This dynamically creative organization brings applied learning music composition into Bay Area middle and high school classrooms.  Since 2008, almost 800 music students along with non-music and special education students have worked directly with composer, Katrina Wreede and professional musicians to create almost 80 original collaborative compositions, hearing them performed in front of over 3500 of their peers, teachers, and community members.  Each season, CT pairs composing with fun and educational themes like original poetry and native California plants to inspire creativity.  This thoughtfully designed program gets students of all ability levels engaged and involved with each other and their ideas, taking imagination from its first spark to a completed new work of art. 

The goal of CT is to expose large numbers of young people to the creative process, including valuing original ideas in a collaborative setting, learning follow-through skills, revising based on feedback, and performing the result.  This is also an entrepreneurial model used by companies like Google.  CT always supports school teachers by emphasizing and conforming to the National Performing Arts Guidelines, addressing elements of the guidelines difficult to address in a large ensemble class setting, like harmonic structure, instrumentation, improvisation, and musical form. CT makes time and space for intellectual and emotional integration of those elements by using them in a creative, small group setting.

For more information about our collaboration with Composing Together go to:


The Bernal Hill Players Lecture Demonstrations on Understanding Chamber Music;
Exploring Ways in Which Classical Music is Inspired and Structured

1. The Power of Repetition
Ostinato-based pieces, fugues, and rondos will be played by Pachelbel, Saint-Saëns, Bach, Piazzolla, Mozart and Rutter. The audience will be invited to sing the ostinato bass lines, to sing a canon, and to identify the recurring rondo themes.

2. Dancing the Music
Musical dance forms from different cultures will be demonstrated, including gigues by Bach and Nin-Culmell, minuets and scherzos by Mozart and Beethoven, waltzes by Brahms and Shostakovich, Hungarian Dances by Bartok, and Latin American dances by Piazzolla and Gamboa. The audience will be invited to clap the meters and to dance to the music.

3. Music for Storytelling
Manuel de Falla's El Amor Brujo, Peter Josheff's Sutro Tower in the Fog, and Guillermo Galindo's Espacios Mercado Sonora will be used to illustrate story telling in music. The audience will be invited to draw pictures inspired by the musical stories they have heard.

Learning objectives for these presentations are: to expose new audiences to wonderful chamber  music from many cultures; to expose audiences to a high level of live musical performance; to teach new ways to listen to music, by understanding some of the organizing principles behind it; to develop the listener’s intuitive response to music’s ability to evoke feelings, stories, and images.