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Pacifica Quartet/Sharon Isbin Outreach Events

Pacifica Quartet Outreach at Alamo Heights High School on October 16, 2017

On the Monday after their performance with Sharon Isbin, the Pacifica String Quartet gave an amazing workshop for about 140 string students at Alamo Heights High School. The program was about string quartet repertoire and how players prepare to perform. The players performed several sections from the Sunday concert. They showed the relationship between the Haydn quartet and works by J.S. Bach and popular dance movements like the minuet. Next, they played a movement of a Russian quartet by Beethoven to demonstrate a fugue, which requires that the players ‘converse’ musically with one another.  During a very interesting question and answer session, the students asked quite insightful questions about the musicians’ instruments and their history.

The quartet continued with some Shostakovich, since they had heard from the orchestra teacher that the advanced students were working on the composer’s 8th string quartet. They concluded with some of the Puccini quartet from the Sunday performance.

Submitted by Paul Giolma and Jan Van den Hende

Sharon Isbin Outreach at KIPP on October 16, 2017

The San Antonio Chamber Music Society had an embarrassment of riches when we had both the Pacifica String Quartet and world-renowned guitarist, Sharon Isbin in town to do Outreach Events for us.  Following their beautiful performance on our Sunday series, both the quartet members and Ms. Isbin shared their talents with some lucky students.  Sharon went to the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) public charter school of San Antonio.  The school was having a teachers’ work day, but students were invited to attend school anyway to hear a guitar concert.   One boy who studies guitar, walked four miles to get to the concert.  He said he didn’t have a ride or money for the bus, but he wasn’t going to miss it.  Sharon sat in the modest classroom amid hundreds of musical instruments lined up neatly in cases to be used for teaching.  The classroom was obviously cared for meticulously by music teacher, Elena Magallanes.  Sharon entertained us all with stories about her White House and Ground Zero performances among many others.  She played Asturias by Albéniz and Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Tárrega, two of the most beloved guitar works while we sat entranced and enthralled to watch and hear her intensely beautiful and moving playing up close.

Near the end of the event, the teacher asked the student, Enrique Villarreal, if he would like to play for Sharon and he responded enthusiastically.  Ms. Magallanes opened one of the guitar cases and handed him an instrument. He played a few scales and had a “private lesson” with the maestra!

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

Calmus Ensemble Outreach Event

Calmus Ensemble Outreach at Madison High School on April 24, 2017

On April 24, 2017 the amazing vocal group Calmus Ensemble from Leipzig, gave a beautiful private performance for 40 lucky choral students at Madison High School. The group sang a quite different program at Madison than the program on our formal series at Temple BethEl. Their program included a work by Bach, an intricate and complex fugue, a work by Queen (the rock group), and a very humorous ditty that included some comedy material involving a triangle played by two people. The students rose to their feet in a spontaneous ovation at the end of the concert.

This was our last Outreach Event for the 2017-18 season. SACMS is pleased to be able to offer these Outreach Events as a musical gift to our community. If you support this concept, please consider making a donation to the Ed Mandel Fund to further these educational concerts.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

Les Amies Outreach Event

Les Amies Outreach at UTSA Recital Hall on February 26, 2017

On Feb. 26th Carol Wincenc, world renowned flutist of the Les Amies Trio, conducted a Master Class at the UTSA Recital Hall for UTSA and YOSA musicians. The class started with all the students (and audience) on stage. The musicians’ flutes became part of their bodies as Carol led us all through a series of stretching and breathing exercises. Everyone was now totally relaxed and completely involved in the Master Class.

Five students, 2 from YOSA and 3 from UTSA then played their pieces with the accompaniment of Mr. Joshua Pepper on the piano. Musicians all received gentle and invaluable advice. A young musician had just started her piece when Carol came onto the stage and proceeded to waltz around with her counting the beat. The musician restarted her piece, a waltz, now with impeccable timing. A student who had played the Saxophone earlier in his musical life had the niceties of the differences in breathing techniques needed for the flute explained to him.

After the musicians had finished all of us were again on the stage with Carol doing post playing breathing and muscle loosening exercises. Happy and excited conversations were heard from everyone. This was indeed a forerunner of the wonderful concert that was in store for the SACMS audience the next afternoon. Grateful thanks to Allyson Dawkins, SACMS Chair of Education and Outreach and to Rita Linard, UTSA Professor of Music for organizing this amazing Master Class.

Submitted by Kenneth Bloom 

Aeolus Quartet Outreach Event

Aeolus Quartet Outreach at Jackson Middle School on January 23, 2017

Bright and early on this Monday morning, the young musicians of the Aeolus Quartet started off with some Mozart (Adagio & Fugue K.546) before talking with the 200 or so students gathered in the Auditorium/Cafeteria. They established excellent rapport right away, introducing the audience to each of their instruments, with an explanation of their individual roles within a string quartet. The morning continued with more music by Schumann (String Quartet Op.41, No.3, 2nd Movt.), Copland (Rondino), and Barber (String Quartet in B-Major, Op.11, 2nd Movt.) before breaking into a very lively Q & A session: the students (and teachers!) asked and the Quartet answered a wide range of questions including – motivation for practicing;  breathing together when playing in ensemble; music as a viable career; music as a form of communication; and music serving as a balance in our modern-day tech-filled life.

After a brief pause, the Quartet spent more quality time with a smaller group of orchestra students – they played selections by Schumann (String Quartet Op.41, No.3, Finale) and Barber (String Quartet in B-Major, Op.11, 3rd Movt.), and in between the two pieces answered more  in-depth questions about the intricacies of bowing, synchronization, rhythmic control, and musical direction. Finally the musicians demonstrated to the rapt audience the importance of listening “through the silence”,  and its emotional impact.  At the end of the event, a shy and soft-spoken 7th-grader approached us and said “This is the best thing I’ve ever heard! I’m now motivated to work extra hard!”

Well, that made our day!

Submitted by Pauline Glickman

Brasil Guitar Duo Outreach Event

The outreach event of the Brasil Guitar Duo at the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center on Monday was special for those of our Board members who came and a real treat for the detainees. The boys and girls, aged 12 to 17 years slouched in, arms folded behind them as ordered, and sat truculently in their chairs. The very watchful staff was behind and around them. About 60 people in all. The Duo started playing and then talked to the detainees who gradually relaxed, responded and were also freely involved in discussions with the musicians. By the end most were moving in time to the Samba. A most gratifying and worthwhile outreach.

Submitted by Kenneth Bloom 

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

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