Santa Barbara Symphony News
[Newspress] Kids enjoy Santa Barbara Symphony
February 08, 2013
By Jordan Ecarma, News-Press staff write
More than 2,500 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders crowded the Granada Theatre on Thursday morning to hear performances of the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Concert for Young People.
“It’s completely exciting to welcome them and see the entire house full of students,” said Amy Bassett, director of education and community development with the Santa Barbara Symphony. “You have students from all over Santa Barbara County here.”
The Santa Barbara Symphony has presented the Concerts for Young People series, which introduces children to classical music, for more than 50 years.
Cinthia Avila, 10, and Michelle Alba, 9, didn’t mind missing math class to attend their first concert at the Granada Theatre.
“I’m excited,” Cinthia told the News-Press.
The two fourth-graders came with around 200 other students from McKinley Elementary School.
The Santa Barbara Symphony planned the event in June and invited schools from across the county, 30 of which sent students on Thursday.
The Granada Theatre featured two performances of the special concert. One was attended by about 1,200 students, the other by about 1,500, Ms. Bassett said.
The event opened with Beethoven’s “Coriolan Overture,” a musical composition that portrays the tragedy of fallen Roman leader Coriolanus, in C minor.
Before the piece was performed, storyteller Michael Katz described the plot behind “Coriolan” for the children so they could better understand how the music depicts a man torn between his desire for revenge and love for his family.
“It’s very dramatic because of the intense story behind it,” he said of the overture. “As we listen to the music, see if you can see the story taking place.”
The main feature of the concert was a story created by Mr. Katz and 163 schoolchildren who sent in story ideas based on Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16.”
Mr. Katz wove many of the story submissions together into one tale.
Some interesting stories that didn’t make it into the final narrative included mermaids, goblins, Atlantis, a castle, a volcano, a golden apple and a magic crown, Mr. Katz said.
The final narrative was a fanciful tale chronicling the adventures of a fictional 13-year-old girl named Josephine, who goes inside a snow globe to discover another world and rescue her lost parents.
Mr. Katz’s telling of the story was layered with musical movements from Grieg’s piano concerto, as performed by the orchestra.
His narration and the Santa Barbara Symphony’s performance were well-received by the schoolchildren, who clapped enthusiastically after each part of the concert.
The storyteller encouraged the children to keep listening to classical music, describing his own experiences, where he liked some classical pieces and disliked others but always remained curious to hear new music.
“Curiosity is an amazing thing because you remain open,” he said