Covington Catholic Student's Original Melody Chosen for Performance by Symphony
The composiiton by a Covington Catholic sophomore was selected for performance by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday.
John Lawrie, 16, entered the CSO's annual Melody Contest for local students in which a poem is provided and then music students are tasked with writing a melody for it.
The poem for this year was written by Mark Flanigan and titled, "The Bell Ringer's Song".
Lawrie has been playing the piano for twelve years and said that he felt inspired when he read the poem which calls for equality and justice. He returned home and sat down at his piano trying to capture the meaning and the tone of the poet through a composed melody. Two weeks later, he had a a composition that he titled, "America's Proud Lullaby (The Bell Ringer's Song)".
"He told me about the contest. I initially thought it was an English assignment. When he played it for me, it sounded like a freedom march and I could imagine people singing this poem to my son's melody," said Joe Lawrie, John's father.
The CSO's history with young composers is long. In 1942, an unknown Aaron Copland was commissioned to create a song to reflect the nation's hope during World War II, and came up with the now iconic "Fanfare for the Common Man".
In that tradition, the competition continues.
Lawrie submitted his score, written for piano, to the CSO. All submissions were turned over to Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) where composer Brian Nabors then had the task of reviewing and choosing a winner. After choosing Lawrie's hand written composition, Nabors began the process of composing the melody for an entire orchestra.
Nabors turned his music over to associate conductor of the CSO, Keitaro Harada who then had the responsibility to bring the music to life.
During class one day, Lawrie's English teacher informed him and his classmates that the CSO chose Lawrie's melody.
The whole class was excited for Lawrie - and because they got to attend Wednesday's performance.
"This honor is incredible. Not many people get to hear a world class orchestra like the CSO compose and perform a melody your son dreamt up," said Stephanie Lawrie, John's mother. "We hope he can use his talents to make a difference in the world."
Lawrie, his English teacher and his classmates, his mother, father, seven siblings, and grandmother attended the performance at the newly renovated Cincinnati Music Hall.