Shaker Heights Fantasy - A collection of 19th century Shaker melodies

Shaker Heights Fantasy was commissioned by supporters of the Shaker Heights High School Band (Tom Deep, Director) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shaker Heights and its school programme.

THE SHAKERS

The ‘United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing’ was one of several religious groups that were formed in eighteenth-century England. Founded in 1747, the first members of the group were known as ‘Shaking Quakers’ because of the ecstatic nature of their worship services, which placed great emphasis on music and dance. The members looked to women for leadership and Ann Lee, who joined in 1758, took the religion to America when she emigrated in the 1770s.

The Shakers composed thousands of songs, many of which are beautiful in their simplicity. They were originally handed down by word of mouth until collections started to be published in the late 19th century. The tunes used in Shaker Heights Fantasy come from two such collections.

ABOUT SHAKER HEIGHTS SCHOOLS

The Shaker Heights schools, located just outside Cleveland, Ohio, are known throughout the United States and internationally for academic excellence and cultural diversity. As Shaker Heights celebrates its centennial in 2012, the school district is committed to providing a world-class education to every one of its 5500 students.

In Shaker Heights, music is a basic part of every student’s course of study, starting in kindergarten. In fifth grade, each student begins formal instruction in a band or string instrument. At the middle and high school levels, students may choose between band, orchestra and choir.

Superior performance is a hallmark of student musicians in the Shaker Heights schools. Twice named a Grammy Signature School, Shaker Heights High School offers eight band groups, two orchestras, and five choirs. More than 40% of the High School’s 1600 students participate in a musical ensemble. The school also offers courses in music theory, composition and technology, and International Baccalaureate music.

Shaker’s band programme, with nearly 400 members, is one of the largest in Ohio and consistently earns top ratings in professionally adjudicated contests. The band has been invited to perform in Germany, Austria, Italy, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, China and Turkey.