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GEMS was recently honored to have Ray Cornils, Municipal Organist for the City of Portland Maine, as a guest in the elementary school. As artist in residence for the education programs of the Friends of the Kotzchmar Organ, Mr. Cornils lead a program featuring a portable, demonstration organ, which was designed and built by David Wallace, specifically for educational purposes. The organ, affectionately known as “Kotzchmar Jr.”, was constructed with exposed pipes and Plexiglas panels so students can see the inside workings of the organ.

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They were able to partake in making music on the organ by manually pumping air to its pipes which allowed them to observe how sound to the organ is produced. Our GEMS students thoroughly enjoyed the hands on participation, they found out how much work it can be to pump air to an organ, and the older students were able to make the connection to what they’ve learned in STEM about how sound is produced.

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Ray Cornils is also a member of the music faculties of Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine and the Young Organists Collaborative, and he has performed throughout the United State, Europe and South America. He performs regularly with the Portland Symphony Orchestra both as harpsichordist and organist. It was a great honor to have him share his knowledge and skills with GEMS students and staff.


Target 4 – Engaged Community Partners FWSU staff and students engage in authentic learning opportunities with local, regional, state, and global partners to make a difference in their community, state, and world.

Action Step -Engage community partners in a focused, collaborative inquiry process to address community needs

Indicator of Success -Learning opportunities are designed to build proficiency in transferable skills

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