Read the Message from AF Leadership Regarding Current Protests
In 2019, AF’s Board of Directors approved the launch of the MOSAIC PROJECT– the second phase of AF’s Community Access Initiative. In this phase, Apollo’s Fire is prioritizing diversity throughout our organization and our audience. Ultimately, our goal is to help increase diversity throughout the national early music field.
Why Mosaic? Like early music, a mosaic is an ancient art form. Just as a baroque composition consists of small thematic gestures linked together in harmony, so a mosaic picture consists of small, varied, colored pieces assembled in a design. In mosaics and in early music, the diverse, multicolored bits work harmoniously together to create the beauty of the whole.
Conceived by Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell, this ambitious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity initiative offers training, performance, and mentoring for talented young musicians of color. The program has clear targets for the next 3-5 years as we seek to diversify AF’s Musettes Ensemble (treble youth chorus), professional chorus, Board, staff, and the orchestra. Apollo’s Fire seeks to nurture a new generation of baroque musicians of color, helping to build a more diverse pool of early music performers within 5-10 years.
The MOSAIC project seeks to nurture future musicians of color through a “pipeline” approach – reaching children, teens, and young adults at multiple touch points throughout a young musician’s development. Over the course of 3-8 years, talented young musicians of color will be inspired through interactions and mentoring by AF’s artistic personnel at various levels, reinforcing the message that “we all belong” in this world of classical music.
The program includes:
- Diversity Fellowships, providing professional performance opportunities and mentoring for talented young classical musicians of color. The Fellows are drawn from a national pool. They work with Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell and AF core musicians, performing in Apollo’s Fire subscription and tour concerts and outreach activities.
- Music Outreach Internships, providing paid internship opportunities for college-age music students who perform in AF’s in-school workshops and Family Concerts. The Interns are drawn from the Northeast Ohio area. They work with Artist-in-Residence for Outreach Performances Amanda Powell.
- Small-group classical music coachings for children of color through AF’s Musettes Ensemble (treble youth chorus), CIM’s Musical Pathways Fellowship program, and the Rainey Institute in urban Cleveland.
Reggie Mobley, Visiting Artist for Diversity Outreach
Reggie is a respected countertenor with an international solo career. His European engagements include the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Baroque Soloists & Monteverdi Choir (John Elliot Gardiner), the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Bachfest Leipzig. In North America, he has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Calgary Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), and the Boston Early Music Festival, among others.
With roots in the Deep South and the struggles of the black community, Reggie is dedicated to helping the classical music industry overcome its inequality issues regarding race, gender, and sexuality. A strong devotion to social and political activism is part of Reggie’s everyday life, adding to his strength in reaching diverse communities. His outreach experience includes designing programs of music by 18th-century African composers who worked in Europe. A versatile artist, Reggie has performed cabaret shows of gospel, jazz, and torch songs in jazz clubs. He serves as programming consultant for the Handel & Haydn Society, where he directs the “Every Voice” program.
Ashlee Foreman, Diversity Fellow
Ashlee is a talented young soprano who is currently a Master’s candidate at the University of Akron. She holds a degree in vocal performance from Cleveland State University, where she studied voice with Amanda Powell. While an undergrad, Ashlee served as AF’s first Artistic Outreach Intern, singing the role of Princess Pamina in AF’s in-school workshops and performances. She has performed with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Opera. In 2020 she joined AF’s professional chorus, Apollo’s Singers, with whom she has performed in Cleveland and New York City.
Gabriella Martinez, Education Specialist
Gabriella (Gaby) Martinez joined the Apollo’s Fire team in 2018 as co-creator of AF’s first in-school workshop for elementary grades – Apollo the Spider’s Musical Adventure. She is currently co-director and co-host of I ♥ Music, AF’s new Discovery Series of videos for young children. Originally from Cleveland, Gaby earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Dance from Baldwin Wallace University, and recently relocated to Chicago. In addition to being a performer, she has worked as a Teaching Artist and Program staff for many arts nonprofits in Cleveland, including The Dancing Wheels Company and Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. Gaby strives to engage different communities through her work, in particular, youth in creative arts-related curriculums. Gaby is thrilled to be working with Apollo’s Fire!
Liz Bullock, Music Outreach Intern
Liz is a vocalist and Music Therapy student at Cleveland State University, where she has studied Voice with Amanda Powell. Liz began her musical journey at a young age, singing in choirs at The Music Settlement and with The Singing Angels. She then went on to study contemporary music at the Cleveland School of Rock where she was able to tour nationwide with other young musicians. Liz has performed in AF’s in-school workshops and Family Concerts, and is an active freelance singer in the Cleveland area. She is currently a Music Therapy Intern at University Hospitals, where she uses music to help patients in the healing process.
Langston Maxwell, Music Outreach Intern
Cleveland native Langston Maxwell is a young percussionist and music teacher. He studied at the Cleveland Music School Settlement under the instruction of local touring artist Bill Ransom, and participated in the Jazz at the Settlement program (J@MS). At the age of 17, Langston was selected to perform in Long Beach California at the TED conference and in the Philadelphia Jazz festival with the Berklee City Music All-Star Band. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and is now continuing his education at Cleveland State University.
Langston has performed in AF’s school workshops and Family Concerts. As a devoted educator, he teaches beginner drum set skills to young children privately and through churches. He is on staff as the drummer at Affinity Missionary Baptist Church. He has made it his life objective to use his musical talents to educate and uplift.