Come and be dazzled and catch some stardust!
If you have read the posting by Allyson Dawkins, our Outreach and Education Chair, you already know we sponsor Monday concerts and classes at local schools; I know she has written about our last venture which was very successful, but I’d like to tell you my impression of the magic that happened in the school gym.
This elementary school accepts children who may require some help in addition to the regular standard curriculum. The Ariel String Quartet members (two violinists, a violist and a cellist) had performed a magnificent concert the day before, and they were ready, willing and most able to take on an audience that ranged in age from 7 to 10. It was quite a cold morning, this Veterans’ Day, and the children were bundled up as they filed in from the playground where there had been a special commemoration to mark the day. They were arranged by their teachers in rows, seated on the floor, and there was a hush of anticipation as the musicians tuned their instruments.
As they began to play, I surveyed the audience – fully expecting to see someone pinching a neighbor or whispering secrets, but they were quiet. Then I noticed a young man in the first row. His elbow rested on his knee and his chin rested on his hand as he leaned slightly forward. He never moved. I’m not sure he even blinked his eyes. He was, to me, the Norman Rockwell personification of a boy who was completely caught in the gold and silver threads of the music. I thought, as I watched him, so rapt, so attentive, “This is how musicians are made.”
I thought, as I watched him, so rapt, so attentive,
“This is how musicians are made.”
There were another two grades of young children who were ushered in by their teachers, and this group included a little bespectacled boy who sat by the door and commenced a Classic Meltdown. He wept, he hollered, he banged his heels on the floor. As the musicians began their concert, he became quiet and, after a while, I noticed he had crept closer to the main group, moving stealthily on hands and knees until he reached a few feet from the last row of children. There he sat and, was he listening? I couldn’t say for sure, but his head moved back and forth in time to the rhythm of the music. Something had gotten through to this little fellow and I wished his parents could see the transformation that the music, classical music, had wrought.
I think we all know the magic of music: how it makes us forget the every day, how it can ease worries and smooth the brows. And how it can affect even rambunctious little boys, at least for a little while. These two may never pick up a violin or write a score, but they may be future members of our audiences. Like you and me.
Happy Thanksgiving, one and all, and be sure to mark January 26 on your new 2020 calendar. That’s the date of our next concert, the Akropolis Reed Quintet.
– E Doyle
Ariel Quartet Outreach at Lamar Elementary School on November 11, 2019
Kudos to SACMS board member, Paul Giolma, for having us invited to present an educational outreach for very young listeners at Lamar Elementary. Lamar is situated on one of the streets that defines the border of Mahncke Park just off Broadway. We were greeted at the entrance by a magnificent and huge oak tree estimated to be 150 years old. As we made our way to the gymnasium, we passed by many more equally beautiful and old oak trees in the courtyard. The gym, open, airy, and decorated in bright colors, was our concert hall for the two concerts. The students sat happily on the floor and squeezed up close to be near the quartet members. A wide age range attended – for the first concert, second and third graders, and for the second, fourth through sixth graders.
The musicians began by speaking in their native languages – Sasha Kazovsky in Russian; Amit Even-Tov in Hebrew; and Jan Grüning in German. Of course, almost no one could understand what they were saying. So then the concept of music as universal language was introduced. Violinist Gershon Gerchikov explained the difference between the instruments that comprise a string quartet. The group played movements from a Haydn Quartet and a Beethoven Quartet demonstrating moods ranging from happy to sad and from introverted to extroverted.
Chamber music is an art form meant to be enjoyed in the intimacy of a small hall or chamber. The San Antonio Chamber Music Society has been presenting that exquisite pleasure for over 70 years. This year is no exception! SACMS continues to bring to San Antonio world-class chamber music season after season for your enjoyment.