At first glance, recent CCM graduates Ryan Donohue (BM Violincello, 2017) and Jack Bogard (BM Jazz Studies, 2017) may not appear to have much in common. However, they have traversed a unique pipeline of talent that runs from Over-the-Rhine to Clifton. Before their time at CCM, both men graduated from Cincinnati’s School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). They attended the magnet arts school to prepare for their collegiate education, following a long line of SCPA students who chose to continue their training at CCM.
“For the almost half-century since SCPA was founded, the school’s graduates have matriculated to CCM,” says SCPA Executive Director Nick Nissley. “From there they have found their way to Broadway and LA, and places in between, creating and performing as professional artists. They have also become lawyers, teachers and productive citizens in their communities. Many call Cincinnati home.”
“We’re proud to be a wellspring for this talent pipeline that links Cincinnati’s young, diverse talent with CCM — and ultimately — the rest of the world,” he adds. “This year is no exception, with eight SCPA graduates of our Class of 2017 continuing their education at CCM in the fall.”
The two schools have an established connection in furthering arts education and preparing young artists for professional careers. CCM’s Preparatory and Community Engagement Division (CCM Prep) is partnered with the Cincinnati Public Schools to provide private and group music lessons to students at the SCPA. CCM Prep also works with the City Gospel Mission to present after-school arts activities for elementary students in other Cincinnati Public Schools.
CCM is already seeing the benefits of such partnerships, as it counted 16 SCPA graduates amongst its collegiate student population in 2016-17, a number which has increased for 2017-18.
Bogard says the SCPA gave him a “high school flavored analogue” of his experience at CCM. “In addition to the academic coursework I was involved in, the kinds of ensembles and other musical experiences I was fortunate enough to have at SCPA gave me a breadth of experience and knowledge that prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities I was going to have at CCM.”
Donohue agrees. “At CCM, you are always around music,” he says. “With the amount of practice and rehearsal time necessary to truly capitalize on what CCM offers, you are required to immerse yourself in music. SCPA provided me with a preview of this. Attending a high school that puts heavy emphasis on the arts, I spent much more time with my cello than I would have at a more traditional high school. When I got to CCM, I was already used to having orchestra rehearsals on most days.”
The graduating seniors plan to continue their arts education in graduate school and will use the upcoming year to prepare for auditions. Over the summer, Donohue will spend one month in Japan participating in the Pacific Music Festival. He also performs in the Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and teaches private lessons to young cellists.
“It is vital for people who are interested in playing music to have good teachers — especially young people, so that their interest is nurtured early on,” says Donohue.
“I teach in hopes that what I say resonates with the students and encourages them to build upon their interest,” adds Donohue.
Bogard shares Donohue’s passion for teaching and will give music lessons to young musicians through Cincinnati Strings beginning in August. He is thankful to the CCM faculty for providing training for his “rather odd set of musical interests.” Bogard plays the violin, mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar and piano. This summer he will play mandolin in Ottorino Respighi’s Roman Festivals with the National Repertory Orchestra.
“My jazz violin teacher Paul Patterson has really been the pillar of my experience at CCM,” says Bogard. “While officially he teaches me jazz violin, we have covered everything from plectrum choice for orchestral mandolin solos, orchestral violin excerpts, string quartet arranging, how to play under a microphone as a violinist, chord voicings for fingerstyle guitar and so many other things. I can’t put into words how thankful I am that I was able to study with him.”
Bogard regularly freelances with performance ensembles throughout the Tristate including the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. As he prepares for graduate school, Bogard plans to apply to play in pre-professional orchestras such as the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami and the Chicago Civic Orchestra.
“Looking back at the past four years, perhaps what I am most thankful for is how supportive the faculty at CCM has been,” Donohue recalls. “As a musician and as a person, I have grown more than I had thought possible four years ago, and that is largely due to the faculty, especially my teacher Alan Rafferty, constantly pushing and inspiring me.”
Both students began their path to careers as professional artists at the SCPA and CCM. They were not the first to do so and they most certainly will not be the last.
“SCPA and CCM are natural partners in arts education,” comments CCM Interim Dean bruce mcclung. “From CCM providing Suzuki string training to SCPA Grades 1-3 to the eight SCPA graduates who will be continuing their education at CCM in the fall, I hope that we can continue to grow and to deepen our partnership.”