Clurie Bennis Children’s Outreach Program

The Clurie Bennis Children’s Outreach Series provides free, high-quality music education experiences to Cleveland schools and communities. In this series educational pieces take the form of cultural experiences relayed through music, theater and dance, allowing CityMusic teaching artists to engage children with music not represented in traditional curriculum. Each year two to four separate pieces are designed to maximize student participation and open up new avenues of cultural appreciation through music. The 2019-2020 series features the following programs:


My Beautiful Birds (October 2019)

The award winning children’s book My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo will be presented in movie-like form. The story will be read to an accompanying live soundtrack that will consist of string quartet repertoire infused with traditional Middle Eastern folk tunes. Projections of images from the book made of clay figures will visually enhance the story, which is a gentle yet moving account of refugees of the Syrian Civil War. It illuminates the ongoing crisis as it affects its children.

Daniel and the Snakeman (January 2020)

This work by local Cleveland composer Margaret Brouwer, arranged for a mixed chamber ensemble and narrator, explores the themes of empathy and acceptance. An 11 year-old boy named Daniel lives in a future time called the 7th World Order. It is a time when people have learned to live together peacefully, respecting each other’s differences – but there are hold-overs from the past called the old guard.  These people, many of whom had become half human and half animal like the Snakeman, still believed that people who were different from each other should not come near each other and not do fun things together. Daniel and his bat friend Wiggy go on a journey to the Snakeman’s fortress to free the many people imprisoned there. The various characters in the story are represented by different instruments – Daniel by trumpets and horns, Wiggy by the clarinet, Malik by drums, Fadumo and Elizabeth by the oboe and violin, and Snakeman by the trombone with lots of glissandi – allowing children to readily connect the music with the story.


The Birth of Jazz (March 2020)

Acclaimed jazz bassist and composer John Clayton joins CityMusic to present a journey through the cultural and historical elements that came together to create Jazz. Children will learn how to “swing” as Clayton and his partner musicians invite students to help create the unique rhythms underpinning jazz, and will learn how to “scat” – using nonsense syllables as they improvise rhythm and or/melody.


The series takes place in partnership with the Children’s Museum of Cleveland and local schools and libraries. The schools and neighborhoods we partner with have high levels of poverty, large concentrations of minorities, and in some cases large immigrant and refugee populations.  CityMusic removes any barriers to enhanced arts education experiences by bringing these programs directly to schools and libraries at no charge. By presenting unique music educational experiences for children through relatable stories and media, we aim to inspire students to engage with music and participate more fully in their school music programs. The socially integrative effect that music can have is well documented, and we hope to help children from struggling families and immigrant and refugee backgrounds find a space where they can learn and express themselves. The four programs will be presented at each location, providing a sequential series that enhances school music curriculum.


Program Coordinator: Daniel Ruffing


Past Programs & Media

Oi! An Adventure to CarnivalOi! An Adventure to Carnival (March 2019)

A child travels to Brazil for the first time to find him/herself guided by a Carnival fairy through the history, musical rhythms and dance steps of Brazilian traditions related

to the festival. There will be interactive portions though the show in which the children will learn basic Portuguese phrases, samba dance steps and samba rhythms. The show will conclude with either a Carnival parade or group dance.









The Rabbit On The Moon: A Harvest Festival (September/October 2018)

The modern day retelling of the Jade Rabbit (a.k.a. the Moon Rabbit), a folk story common throughout Asia and most commonly associated with the Chinese Harvest Festival. The story will be told through traditional Chinese music and visually enhanced with the participation of a puppeteer.

Rabbit on the Moon PosterVideos: Noble Library Performance  Dress Rehearsal

Puppeteers in actionPuppets RotM













Get That Groove On (May/June 2018)

An infusion of poetry, dance and music, this show will span the musical genres of classical music, beat-boxing, rap, and hip-hop. The audience will learn about rhythms that tie music, poetry and dance together through interactive activities. This program will feature the group In2ative, formed by CityMusic musicians, and hip-hop dancer and choreographer Christian Townsend.

In2ative and Christian Townsend at St. Jerome’s School, Collinwood

Get That Groove On


In2ative at the Noble Road Library


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CityMusic Cleveland is a professional chamber orchestra that performs free concerts throughout Northeast Ohio,often accompanied by exhibits of local artwork.

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Recent Reviews & Articles

New music director Amit Peled says he believes in mission of CityMusic Cleveland

July 31, 2019

Cleveland Jewish News, July 31 2019   CityMusic Cleveland, the chamber orchestra that performs for free in churches and other nontraditional concert locations, has turned to Israel again for its next music director, tapping Amit Peled, who was raised on a kibbutz, to replace outgoing director Avner Dorman. Peled, who will remain in his full-time […]

Social Media Resource Document

With generous support from the Cleveland Foundation, CityMusic Cleveland has embarked on a mission to enhance our digital footprint to more fully engage with our local communities, especially younger audiences. Our social media consultant has documented the strategy so far as a resource for other non-profits who may struggle to find the resources to devote to digital media. (link to social media resource page)

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