Education & Pre-Professional Training

“An unseen part of the extraordinary work that Jeannette Sorrell is doing with Apollo’s Fire – the mentoring of young people through music.”–

Since 2002, Apollo’s Fire has deeply touched and transformed the lives of many youngsters through its unique and vibrant education programs. With a track-record of nearly 15 years, AF’s youth training programs have now produced the majority of the leading young, up-and-coming musicians in the national baroque music field.

In keeping with its core value of intimacy of the artistic experience, AF does not present one-time experiences to hundreds of children in a large auditorium; rather, the hallmark of AF’s educational programs is the close interaction between musicians and learners – an intimacy that fosters a meaningful and memorable artistic learning experience.

AF’s educational outreach includes the following 4 programs. Please click on the links for details.

Musettes Ensemble (treble youth chorus) | Young Artist Apprentice Program | Family Concerts | School Workshops & Partnerships

Watch video! AF’s education programs in action!

“Bach Family Frolic: A Multi-Generational Music Party”

Staged performance of J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata, directed by Jeannette Sorrell and using Sorrell’s zany English translation. Three-part video:

  • Pt 1 features primarily the Apprentices.
  • Pt 2 features apprentice Madeline Healey playing the role of the rebellious daughter, and guest artist Jeffrey Strauss as her frustrated Papa.
  • Pt 3 is the Finale including all Apprentices and 3 Musettes.

The program won rave reviews in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and!

For more videos, check out our Educational Concerts Video Playlist!

Recent Activities

2015-16 Season

Musettes Ensemble: 12 Musettes won the hearts of the AF audiences in sold-out performances of Jeannette Sorrell’s beloved holiday program, Praetorius Christmas Vespers. Many patrons commented that this year’s group of Musettes was the most polished ever. In addition, this year saw AF’s commercial CD recording of that program re-released internationally, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the initial release. The recording features the original Musettes (soloists and ensemble) who performed in the premier concerts in 2015. Several of these “Musette alums,” who are now graduate students pursuing musical careers, returned to Cleveland and attended the performances. The re-release of the album attracted glowing reviews from the NEW YORK TIMES and GRAMOPHONE, both commenting on the “delightful” homespun charm of the children’s voices.

Family Concerts: The 2015-16 Family Concerts were titled “Baroque Clowns – Meet Harlequin & Columbine!” In performances at the Maltz Performing Arts Center and the Hudson Library, AF musicians introduced new audiences to the characters of the traditional Italian Renaissance street theatre. Winners of a pop quiz learned to dance a renaissance dance! The programs finished with AF’s famous “Instrument Petting Zoo,” in which the stage is mobbed with curious kids and parents – a joyful cacophony of eager questions and impromptu musical performances by kids.

School Partnerships: Ms. Sorrell and AF principal players collaborated with students at the Laurel School throughout April and May 2016, leading to a joint performance at the AF Gala Benefit at Laurel in May. The performance featured four high-school violinists as well as Laurel’s 13-member chamber choir, performing alongside AF musicians.

2014-15 Season

Young Artist Apprentices: AF’s 5 apprentices took the spotlight in a multi-generational program about Bach’s family. Designed by Jeannette Sorrell, this program was titled “Bach Family Frolic: A Multi-Generational Music Party” and featured a staged performance of J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata, in Sorrell’s zany English translation. Performed at venues including the Cleveland Institute of Music, this project featured the Young Artist Apprentices as soloists but also placed them side-by-side with AF’s veteran principal musicians (two of whom are “graduates” of AF’s apprentice program) and a seasoned AF guest artist who played the role of the Papa. In addition, three of the Musettes performed in the finale, in the role of Bach’s younger children.

The program won rave reviews in the Plain Dealer and A 3-part video of the performance at CIM can be found at this link. Part 1 features primarily the Apprentices. Part 2 features one particular Apprentice (Madeline Healey) along with a guest artist. Part 3 is the Finale including all Apprentices and three Musettes.


“Refreshingly casual and unusually tight thematically, the current Apollo’s Fire program is the antidote to the musical doldrums…. Titled “Family Frolic,” the concert fully lives up to its name… vividness and theatricality rare on any stage. To such sparkling performances by AF director Jeannette Sorrell and a handful of AF principals and apprentices, one could have listened happily for ages.”

“The concert… featured the talented members of the ensemble’s Young Artist Apprentice Program performing alongside AF regulars, with a special appearance by three even younger members of Apollo’s Musettes. The evening culminated in a cleverly staged performance of Johann Sebastian’s amusing “Coffee Cantata.” Jeffrey Strauss perfectly captured the personality of Schlendrian — bumbling and at his wits’ end — singing with excellent diction and a fine sense of comedy. Madeline Healey’s strong, clear voice and supple delivery beautifully suited the frequently ornate music Bach wrote for [teenage coffee-addict] Lieschen, and her acting fit the character of a dizzy daughter like a glove. Sorrell’s imaginative staging brought the instrumental ensemble into the action and sometimes coyly made good fun of itself.”

The 2016-17 season will see expanded activities for the Apprentices and Musettes, thanks to the creation of the part-time position of Director of Youth & Young Artist Programs. Musettes will perform twice in the season, and 5-6 Apprentices will perform alongside seasoned AF players in the “Beethoven the Revolutionary” concerts in April. Other education activities include a return to the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, where AF will perform and teach in October.

On the following pages, please find further information on the Musettes Ensemble, the Young Artist Apprentice Program, Family Concerts, and School Partnerships.

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)