Darlington School Blog

Darlington School
Tia Roper
Upper School Band Director

Tia Roper has been the band director at Darlington since 2017. She studied flute in The Juilliard School's pre-college division before earning her B.M. in Music Education from Manhattan School of Music, M.M. in Music Performance from Boston University, and D.M.A. in Music Performance from Rutgers University. Roper has 15 years of experience teaching music at both the secondary and collegiate levels, most recently serving on the faculty at Bloomingdale School of Music in New York. During the summer, she also teaches at Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts. Roper's performance resume is extensive and includes orchestral, chamber, and solo recitals as well as international performances.

To London with Love: Chineke! Orchestra

9/14/2017 8:33:00 AM, 200 views

Translated from the Igbo dialect of Nigeria, the word chineke means "wow" or "wonderful." So explains the name of one of the first international classical orchestras where the majority of musicians are people of color, mainly those of African descent. Based in London, England, Chineke! Orchestra is still in its infancy as it has been in existence for only two years. Even so, it has already broken so much ground and established a strong presence in the classical music world. Founded by Chi-chi Nwanoku, this ensemble is trailblazing. I had the wonderful opportunity to perform as a principal flutist and piccolo player with Chineke! this past summer in July and August.

Walking into the rehearsal hall on day one was exhilarating: the energy was palpable. As soon as the conductor’s baton went up and we began to play, the magnitude of the immense talent in that room seemed to move us all. In addition to practicing for a concert performance at Royal Festival Hall, that day’s rehearsal also included preparation for the following morning’s appearance on BBC Breakfast TV. Along with a select group of musicians from the orchestra, I performed on the stage of Royal Albert Hall for a morning segment to promote the orchestra’s upcoming August appearance at BBC Proms. 

Excited to perform beautiful chamber music to 7.5 million viewers with members of Chineke! Orchestra bright and early in the a.m. on BBC Breakfast television!

Such moving and beautiful music-making with Chineke! Orchestra. Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, and Florence Price. Inspiring! I LOVE being a musician.

This is one of my most prized photos from July’s trip to London, especially after binge watching & being such a fan of "The Crown"! I got a really great shot of the Queen as she left the opening of New Scotland Yard on Thursday, July 13. I waited a while to take this, but it was worth it. Thank you Nikon and the zoom function!

All of the musicians in Chineke! are successful classical musicians, with several holding a principal position in a major orchestra throughout the United States or in Europe. Coming together and collaborating as one ensemble promotes and illustrates cultural diversity in classical music, one of the many driving factors for the establishment of this great orchestra.

Inge Kjentrup of Strings Magazine remarked that “Chineke! brings new perspectives and new audiences to the sometimes-sclerotic UK classical-music scene, and long may it continue to do so.”

Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres of Bachtrack said, “Only two years old, the Chineke! Orchestra do not give the impression of being newly formed, yet give a younger and newer perspective on more traditional repertoire.”

The second visit to the UK in August featured the orchestra in two lovely concert settings, one on the English countryside of Suffolk at Snape Maltings Concert Hall for Snape Proms and the final concert at the famed Royal Albert Hall for BBC Proms. The latter concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and was recently televised on Sept. 8 on BBC 4. Featuring works by black composers only further illustrated diversity and what hopefully will be a new viewpoint of classical orchestras.

Martin Kettle of The Guardian said that this performance was “arguably one of the most important concerts that the Proms have ever hosted.”
Richard Fairman of The Financial Times said, "Chi-chi Nwanoku and its players from across the continent can feel content that they have sailed through their debut at the Proms with their heads held high.”

It is always rewarding to do what you love. Music is such an integral part of my life. It has the power to move. From an energetic jazz riff to a virtuosic opera aria, music is powerful and so was making music in such a cosmopolitan, vibrant city - To London with Love!

Pre-dress rehearsal at Snape Maltings Proms with Maestro Kevin Edusei and Double Bassist & Founder of Chineke! Chi-chi Nwanoku

Here's the Chineke! woodwind section backstage post-BBC Proms performance.

It's 30 minutes until show time! Here I am with the flute section on stage at Royal Albert Hall at BBC Proms.

Here's the view from my office!

Follow me on Twitter: @TiaRoperFlute


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