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Music to their ears
The Central Oregon Symphony recently paid a visit to Ochoco and Crooked River elementary, providing
Central Oregon Symphony clarinetist Lorell Girard shows Angie Cochran’s third grade class a piece of sheet music.
February 18, 2013
The absence of music programs at local elementary schools has been felt by teachers and students at a very deep level.
It comes as no surprise that the sounds of musical instruments by visiting musicians were music to the students’ ears the past two weeks of February.
A trombone player from the Central Oregon Symphony visited Ochoco Elementary School the first week of February, and last week, Crooked River Elementary was treated to a day with member and clarinetist Lorell Girard.
The visitations were made possible by a grant from Central Oregon Symphony, and are part of a program established in 2011 called the Symphony Stars! It brings musicians from the Central Oregon Symphony into local elementary schools twice per school year. The musician in residence introduces students to the instruments of the orchestra, and provides insight into the life of a musician.
In addition to Ochoco Elementary and Crooked River Elementary, five other Central Oregon schools were recipients of the grant, including Lava Ridge Elementary in Bend, Sisters Elementary, Tom McCall Elementary in Redmond, Madras Primary, and Warm Springs Elementary.
Ochoco Elementary Principal Dave Robinson commented that trumpet player Dan Flagg was very well-received by the student body, and generated a great deal of interest and appreciation for the symphony music.
“He played seven or eight snippets and very distinct styles of music,” commented Robinson of Flagg. “He really just wowed the kids with his performance.”
He added that Flagg went to eight classes for 30 minutes each. He covered music education and music appreciation. Flagg also discussed the importance of having a conductor, and the different components of an orchestra and how they all come together to produce an amazing performance.
Robinson emphasized that their visitor also stressed that one of the most important components of the orchestra is the audience, and their ability to listen, appreciate, engage, and applause. Flagg also talked to students about appropriate audience behavior.
“I think one of his big messages was that anybody can play, with a little interest and practice, and a little bit of support—anybody can play a musical instrument and have a chance to be part of a musical group,” said Robinson.
Flagg will come back in April and spend a day with more Ochoco Elementary students, and all students received a free ticket to the Central Oregon Symphony concert to be held later in the week at Bend High School.
Last Friday, Central Oregon Symphony member Girard visited Crooked River Elementary.
“Now that we don’t have a full-time music teacher, we try to do everything we can to bring outside musical influences into our building,” explained Crooked River Elementary Principal Cheri Rasmussen.
At Crooked River Elementary, clarinetist Girard spent the morning and part of the afternoon with third and fourth grade students.
Rasmussen said that the students will also receive free tickets for the Feb. 23-25 performance by the Central Oregon Symphony in Bend.
“It’s neat for any child at Crooked River who doesn’t get as much music as we would like to provide for them, and they have an opportunity to go see something that they normally wouldn’t get to see in Central Oregon,” added Rasmussen.
Girard played some short pieces of music with her clarinet for the students, and explained how reed instruments like the clarinet use a thin material placed on the mouthpiece, so that when the player blows into it, the air is forced to go to a reed and sets it to vibrate.
She provided short segments of the different instrument sections of an orchestra. Girard played a pre-recorded musical piece that included the entire orchestra, then separate parts for the woodwinds, percussions, strings, and brass sections.
“Music is just sounds that are organized,” Girard explained to the students.
As she showed the students sheet music, she added that it provides the musicians with the notes to play, when, how long, and how loud.
“What I think is so cool about this, is that I can go anywhere in the whole world and play with other people who know how to do this,” exclaimed Girard. “We don’t even have to speak the same language as each other. This stays the same no matter where you are.”
She will return in the spring to teach students about movie and show music.
“It’s a great program,” she said of the Symphony Stars!
The Central Oregon Symphony will perform Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 at 2 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bend High School Auditorium. For more information about tickets and other information, go to http://cosymphony.com.