Monday, December 10, 2007

The VSO and the Young Writers Project...a dream come true

This past weekend, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra toured with its annual Holiday Pops concert to three communities around the state: Barre, Burlington, and Rutland. "Suite Dreams" was the program theme this year and, among the holiday classics we all know and love, it explored music inspired by dreams. In conjunction with the Young Writers Project, shephered by Geoff Gevalt, poems were solicited from young writers that evoked winter imagery, namely that of ice skating, to lead into a performance of Waldteufel's "The Skater's Waltz."

Here are the six winning poems:

“Skater’s Waltz”
by Kestrel Grevatt
Charlotte Central School, Grade 6

Skating fast,
Then down,
On the spot.
My dream goes
And on,
And on.
Skating in circles,
On ice.
My dream goes
And on,
And on.
Gathering speed,
Grazing the ice.
My dream goes
And on,
And on.
I am skating,
In air,
On ice,
In my

"The Skater's Waltz"
by Hannah Domas
Rochester High School, Grade 9

"Sweet dreams Mom," I say.
"Sweet dreams," she answers back.
I lie in my bed,
with the covers tucked around me tight.
Slowly, I look around my room--
At the ceiling,
with the small chip in it,
right above my bed,
At the old white desk in the corner.
Then I look out the window.
The dark, cloudy night sky
drapes everything in shadow.
Just then, the gray clouds part
and the moon is revealed,
The face scarred with craters,
like an old battle-worn soldier.
A glistening shine catches my eye:
The willow pond,
with its frozen surface,
dazzles in the moonlight.
And suddenly I'm not in my cozy bed,
but out on the ice,
with snowflakes whirling around me.
I look down and find that I have skates on my feet,
their sharp blades shining brightly.
I do a few laps,
just to warm up.
Then I take my pose,
in the middle of the ice.
I hold my breath, waiting.
The music starts.
The French horn sounds slowly,
Four long notes,
and still I wait.
Then the flutes come in,
going up the scale,
like twittering birds.
And the violins answer,
going down the scale.
Then the violins and flutes repeat,
getting faster and faster,
until the two are merged.
They abruptly end,
the drum and cymbal crashing together.
And I'm off as the French horn sounds again,
Gliding to the long, deep, crisp notes,
I'm barely touching the ice at all,
floating above the surface.

by Eleanor Blake
Charlotte Central School, Grade 5

You are weightless,
gliding along
Your body has
drifted to an
abandoned path--
just your soul
is left.
The world around you
is wearing a coat,
a white blanket,
that seems to be
worth gold.
A feeling is thrust
upon you--
Thousands of
pounds of joy.
Bells sing,
harmonies melt.
The world
has stopped.
But the beat
of your heart
is fast,
so alive.
your skates are off
your body
was found
the world has started again.
You are left
without your skates
any more.

“The Skating Pond”
by Bethany Sullivan
Mt. Mansfield Union H.S., Grade 11

Snowflakes melt into droplets
Suspended on the wool fibers
Of red mittens.
Stinging fingers buried inside
Grasp at another mittened hand.
A blue glove pats the girl’s back--
She’s never been skating before.
But the boy strides backwards,
Arm extending as he tugs her after him,
Coaxing, a laugh in every syllable.

She follows, catches on,
And soon stands on sturdy legs,
Taking ambitious strokes.
Snowflakes pirouette from a young, gray sky;
The sun seeps behind the mountains,
Pooling on the horizon
Like melted butter
On Christmas morning pancakes;
Snow, like confectioner’s sugar,
Collecting in the boy’s hair
As he skates in strong strokes,
Both laughing out
Gingerbread-house laughs,
Breath misty on the lively, crisp air.

Carnival colors, captive
In strings of lights,
Twine around the pond,
Glowing like candles,
Flames of joy vibrant
Against the twilight sky
Sprinkling forth its dusting of flakes,
Tumbling past eyelashes
And rosy cheeks,
Past tight-bound, sharp skates
Cutting into smooth ice,
Leaving a trail of shavings.

Red mitten releases blue glove
As the girl attempts a spin
But tumbles, coming down hard
To the smooth, shining surface,
Cold through her pants.
As she sings out with laughter
He gives his hand
And they skate on
Through the sparkle of the evening
As the soaring pair,
In close-wrapped scarves
Knit by grandmothers in far-off rocking chairs,
Light as the joyful chimes
In a bright winter waltz,
Clear like sharp January stars
As bursts of happy color
Clustered in the patterns
Of warm sweaters,
And spread through the evergreens
Delicately laced with snow.
Floating like a feather
In soft chickadee shades
It drifts gently,
Close to home,
But not quite touching

“Skater’s Dream”
by Colleen Shouldice
Mount St. Joesph’s Academy, Grade 9

My window is open.
I wake up smelling the clean crisp air all around me.
I put on my sweat pants and sweatshirt,
Grab my skates and I am out the door.
I run to the pond,
I lace up my skates--
Making sure they do not break--
I race all around till I am warm,
I grab my stick.
All of a sudden the pond turns into an arena,
Fans cheering!
I feel great.
Then I hear a ringing.
I think to myself, oh, it’s time for the zamboni.
Then I hear, “Colleen, time to get up!”
I realize it was only a dream.

Among Stars
by Cally Braun
Charlotte Central School, Grade 6

My skates
Glide over
The ice,
Weaving patterns.
Twirl, twist, turn.
I am lifted into
The air.
My feet,
Still dancing,
Dashing through
The swirling clouds.
Blades flashing silver,
I catch a glimpse
Of white wings
Flying majestically
Through the night.
Twirl, twist, turn.
Melodies ride
On the wind.
I am spinning
Through time
Among the stars
Across the sky.
Twirl, twist, turn.
I have
The door
To happiness--
I am skating.
Twirl, twist, turn.