Recent graduate forms Performance Notes Ensemble
PITTSBURGH — Duquesne University's Bluff is alive with the sound of music due to the formation of a new service organization that will focus on entertaining elderly citizens.
Recent Kittanning High School graduate Jacob George started the Performance Notes Ensemble (PNE) to promote the spirit of service through song and dance.
“I believe that volunteer work is essential,” said George, “Students need to give back to their community.”
With the help of several Duquesne students, George, the son of Lynn and Beth George of Kittanning, began PNE at the beginning of the fall 2008 semester. Performance Notes Ensemble is a student-run organization directed by George and two Duquesne University students provide musical direction. The musical directors coach the ensemble and soloists.
The 20-member ensemble travels throughout Pittsburgh to perform for local nursing homes. After a performance, the group socializes with the residents.
“Usually the residents will sing along and share stories with us,” George said.
PNE meets several times each week to rehearse. The members must memorize music and choreography. With a theatre and dance background, George choreographs the entire performance.
“The members of PNE are dedicated; they have to be,” said George, “They have a lot to memorize in a small amount of time.”
The ensemble has a month to prepare and then it is show time. The group usually performs for one nursing home a weekend, but travels to two on occasion. PNE has even performed at community events like Mount Washington's Light Up Night.
Last semester, the ensemble sang a medley of Christmas carols, and this semester they are performing songs that chronicle music throughout the 20th century.
“Last semester the residents were able to sing along because we were singing popular Christmas tunes,” George said, “This semester we hope they will sing along because these should be familiar songs from their younger years.”
Emily Baum graduated in 2007 from Kittanning High School along with George. This article was first prepared for a class at Duquesne, where she also attends.