Symphony teaches lesson of music to local schools

Children say performance is favorite assembly, committee member says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Symphony is going back to school to spread the love of music to local students. The Symphony Goes to School Program started in 1999 with the symphony’s promotion of the annual KinderKonzert. Although the program was on hiatus last year, it’s back and appearing in 12 local schools this month. The program consists of about an hour-long assembly in which students get to hear several compositions and receive demonstrations of the different instruments. Seventeen symphony members and guest musicians performed at Bowman Charter School at 9 a.m. Monday morning for the fifth- through eighth-graders. A second performance for the rest of the school was scheduled to immediately follow. “We kind of sprang from the KinderKonzert,” said Miccie McNee, committee member for Symphony Goes to School. “We get to see thousands (of kids) now through this program and introduce them to classical music. The musicians are all volunteers. It’s just fabulous they donate so much of their talent and time to put on concerts that are the level of (the) Mondavi (Center).” McNee said she thinks live symphony music in schools is important for a number of reasons, including that it can let listeners reflect on their lives and sometimes inspire solutions to problems. “Music is key to human beings and the level of music, with all the harmonies and the beautiful melodies, I just feel it’s very important to our well being,” McNee said. “It provides another level … for considering the problems we have.” Serrena Carlucci, a percussionist, said she hopes students walk away from the performances with a desire to play music. “It’s a way to bring orchestral music to children, which is not something they get all the time,” Carlucci said. John Giles, who plays the oboe in the program, said the opportunity is a lot of fun. “Playing at all is enjoyable, the opportunity to perform,” Giles said. “We all demonstrate our instruments, and it’s fun to play by yourself a little bit. And the association with the other musicians is satisfying.” Gary Truesdail, the symphony’s director, said the music is good for young minds. “The kids don’t get to see (live) music anymore,” Truesdail said. “It’s now a proven fact … they have proven the brain functions at a higher level in people who have experience in music. Many of them will walk away with excitement and wonder, seeing these fascinating things you can do something with.” Committee Member Harriett Kroot said last week when the symphony performed at E.V. Cain, students were sad to see the performance end. “Many, many children have said to us this is their favorite program of the year,” Kroot said. “It brings to the children quality music. And with budget cuts cutting music … and I mean totally to the bone, giving them this music is important.” The symphony played six pieces during Monday’s first assembly at Bowman. They included “Go West,” a combination of Western themes from various movies, the theme to “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Anitra’s Dance.” “Anitra’s Dance” featured the ballet work of 11-year-old Applegate resident Caitlyn Camacho. The performance also included “Bellingrath Gardens,” the “William Tell Overture” and “Uptown Hoedown.” During the pieces, some of the students could be seen swaying and moving their hands to the music. During instrument demonstrations, the children clapped and snapped along. Carly Stillwagon, 10, said she enjoyed the performance. “I liked it a lot because it really inspired me,” Carly said. Ten-year-old Ariana West said the program was “really awesome.” Ben Carpenter, 10, said he enjoyed the symphony because they spent a lot of time with the students. The symphony was scheduled to play at 10 a.m. at Bowman and 2 p.m. at Auburn Elementary School Monday, and at 9 a.m. Friday at Colfax Elementary School. Kroot said the committee is always looking to hear from new schools that might be interested in a performance. The Symphony Goes to School Program has brought its participants closer together, Kroot said. “We have really gotten to be a family too … because we all work hard and produce something that is wonderful,” she said. Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------- Auburn Symphony Website: Information: Call (530) 823-6683 E-mail: