For the 29th consecutive year, Key School students will perform at the upcoming Maryland Renaissance Festival, carrying on a tradition of being the only student group to perform period dances and instrumental accompaniment at the Festival.
Key School students are scheduled to perform at the Maryland Renaissance Festival on Sunday, September 26th and Sunday, October 17th. Performance times will be posted on the Key School’s website as they are made available.
The tradition embraced at Key School in Annapolis has been in full swing since 1982, when Key School students auditioned to perform at the Festival and were signed on the spot. This year’s Key School Consort is a student group comprised of 43 students in grades 9-12, guided by six faculty members. The group dresses in authentic costumes to perform music and dances at regular intervals throughout the day.
Key School’s Upper School students opt to join the Renaissance Consort following years of extensive music education, provided through the school’s nationally recognized Orff Schulwerk music curriculum. Named for the composer Carl Orff and developed at Key School by one of his protégés in 1970, this unique approach to music education involves all Pre-School, Lower School, and Middle School students in a daily study of speech, rhythm, instruments, singing, creative movement and dance, drama, and improvisation.
The study of music, theater and dance continues in the Upper School, at which time students can choose to partake in the Renaissance Consort among several electives available in the performing arts. Most Upper School students at Key School participate in one or more arts activities and have the opportunity to perform in several theater productions each year.
“The music of the Renaissance is the natural next step in the study of Orff Schulwerk,” said Key School’s Performing Arts Department chairman Rick Layton. “It is wonderful to see how, even in their Upper School years, many of Key’s students aren’t ready to stop what they have been doing since they were very little — playing drums and recorders, singing, dancing.”
“The Renaissance Consort is somewhat of a capstone experience for our Orff Schulwerk program,” said Key School’s music department co-head David Sunshine. “After the curriculum that they have followed, Renaissance music is the next logical step. I also really love seeing our kids, many of whom I have known and taught since they were in Pre-School or 1st grade, out there joyfully doing what we have done for years. It is just more affirmation that we are doing the right thing.”
The family-friendly Maryland Renaissance Festival is the second largest Renaissance Festival in the country. Visitors enjoy performances on various stages, as well as food booths, crafts, games and a jousting arena in this local recreation of a 16th-century English village.
The 34th annual Renaissance Festival at Revel Grove is located at 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401. Ticket information is available at www.rennfest.com.