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Dover Quartet Outreach Event

Early on Monday morning, April 4, the Dover String Quartet headed out to Serna Elementary to play for Pre-K through 4th graders.  They were invited by SACMS board member, Joe Lamm, who volunteers to listen to children read at the school.  Hundreds of small children came into the auditorium and sat on the floor waiting eagerly, but quietly for their own private concert.  The quartet members interacted beautifully with the children fielding numerous questions.  The musicians also asked the children questions of their own which helped the students to focus and put on their thinking caps.

The quartet played 2 movements from the Dvořák American Quartet, which they also played in their formal concert on Sunday. They concluded with a lively movement from one of the Beethoven String Quartets.  Each movement was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

We are always grateful to our visiting artists for their generosity in sharing their talents throughout our community.  If you would like to make a contribution to the Ed Mandel Trust Fund which perpetuates our Outreach Events, please visit our website for more information.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

The Shanghai Quartet with Wu Man Outreach Event

On Monday February 29 at noon, the Shanghai Quartet, along with pipa virtuoso Wu Man, performed an hour-long concert in the beautiful Holly Auditorium on the UTHSCSA main campus. After being introduced by Dean of the Medical School, Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, quartet members talked with the audience about the music they were playing. All of the works were by Chinese composers. Additionally Wu Man spoke about the pipa, explaining that it has been around for over 2,000 years, and pointing out how much considerably older it is than the frequently antique (300 years) violins, violas, and cellos that are used in quartets and symphonies. Wu Man played a beautiful solo work for pipa. The performers ended the program with the masterful Ghost Opera by living Chinese composer, Tan Dun.

The large audience sprang to their feet in a spontaneous and enthusiastic standing ovation. Many physicians, researchers, and medical students were in attendance, as well as a group of high school health science interns. All were then treated to a nice lunch buffet put out by the Health Science Center. This was a new venue for SACMS outreach and we look forward to returning there in the future.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

Wu Man and two members of the Shanghai Quartet with Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano.

Gryphon Trio Outreach Event

On January 25, 2016 the Gryphon Trio performed an Outreach Concert for SACMS at the Edgewood Fine Arts Academy for music students. The trio played in the beautiful auditorium. It was a pleasure to hear music in such a great acoustic space, and it was also wonderful to enjoy Edgewood Academy’s beautiful new Steinway grand piano.

The trio played some staples from the piano trio repertoire including a movement of the Ghost Trio by Beethoven. The students were quiet listeners, and very attentive. One student asked a very sophisticated question about how the musicians achieved their various articulations. When time was almost up, and the cellist asked how much time was left, one student yelled out “an hour”! Clearly the students could have sat listening all day.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

Zemlinsky String Quartet Outreach Event

Bright and early, on a chamber of commerce perfect November morning, we set off with the Zemlinsky Quartet members to escort them to their Outreach performances.  First we headed to Clark High School where three classes of eager high school orchestra students awaited us.  The “Zemlinsky Boys” (as they cheerfully refer to themselves) lead the students on a lively tour of quartet music.   They played examples of music from the classical, romantic, and twentieth-century eras.  The students listened in rapt attention to the beautiful slow movement from Beethoven’s Opus 18, Quartet No. 1.  I saw no cell phones out and in use.  It was a refreshing and heartwarming inward listen to one of the most beautiful works in the classical music repertoire.

In the afternoon we had a completely different kind of musical experience as the Quartet visited the Sunshine Cottage School for the Deaf.  Almost all of the students at Sunshine Cottage have cochlear implants.  And all of the students have some sort of access to sound.  The children (K-5th grade) were completely engaged and lively throughout the concert, and had many questions for the musicians.  Board member Polly Spencer sprang to her feet at one point and volunteered insight as to how the instruments made sounds in a similar fashion to the vibration of our vocal chords when we speak.  We truly enjoyed our visit to the beautiful Sunshine Cottage and look forward to sharing the gift of music with their students again in the future.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

More Outreach Event Pictures

Red Priest Outreach Events

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SACMS was extremely fortunate to have Red Priest perform two outreach events on Monday following their performance on our series on Sunday March 4 at Temple Beth-El. The events took place at The Montessori School of San Antonio and at UTSA. The audience of 200 students at the Montessori school ranged in age from 6-14. The audience at UTSA was made up of orchestra students and faculty members.

It was fascinating to observe how well the Red Priest musicians interacted with the various ages of students. At the Montessori school violinist David Greenberg ducked behind the harpsichord where he secretly donned a red feathered mask, and then he jumped out with a yell and proceeded to prance around while playing a Vivaldi melody. Piers Adams, recorder player, and David demonstrated a baroque canon, which is like a round, by following each other while playing and winding up and down the aisles of children.

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At UTSA Red Priest set up on the recital hall stage. Students helped set up chairs for the audience to sit on stage so that the event could be intimate. I felt as though I was sitting in a music history class with the most fascinating and inspiring professor imaginable. The group began by explaining the origin of the word baroque, which means rough, as in rough like a pearl. Each musician spoke at some point, and they all told anecdotes about various baroque composers behaving in a rough and experimental manner. The explanations illuminated the character of the group’s wild and crazy performance style.

At the UTSA event I found myself wishing Red Priest would go on for hours. Both outreach concerts were of an unusually high standard. They were stimulating both in the sharing of the joy of making music, and in the motivating of learning about a specific era of “classical” music.

Submitted by: Allyson Dawkins

American String Quartet Outreach Event

The American String Quartet took joy and music to the hearts of young under-served students on a hot, autumn afternoon in San Antonio. The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio has developed a free after-school program called Music Learning Center on the City’s West Side. It is modeled after El Sistema, a legendary music education program in Venezuela. The Center is located at Good Samaritan Community Services. Over 70 students participating in the YOSA program came to hear the ASQ.

Quartet members talked about their instruments and played movements from the program that they played on the SACMS series opening concert. My favorite was a fugue by Bach arranged by violist Daniel Avshalomov.   Cellist Wolfram Koessel explained that a fugue is similar to a round like Row, row, row your boat.

After the concert violin and cello students unpacked their instruments and played for violinists Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney, and Wolfram Koessel. I observed the interaction with the cellists who sat in a circle and were taught how to hold the bow properly, how to play a scale, and how to make a full sound. Students also played the Dies Irae which is quoted in music for their upcoming Halloween Concert. They got valuable tips from on pros on how to play that theme effectively.

This event was the first we have given for the YOSA Music Learning Center. We applaud them on their endeavor and hope to interact with them more in the future.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

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