Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal



kid's eye view

how do they take the string bass home?

November 11, 2009

how do they take the string bass home?

Friday, November 6 was LACO’s first Meet the Music concert of the year. Hundreds of fourth and fifth grade students from across Los Angeles filed into Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School to hear the Orchestra perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and learn about different instruments of the Orchestra, how the orchestra rehearsed, how long each musician practices and many other fun things.

The next day, one of the teachers who brought students to the event wrote us this incredible note. I asked her if I could share it with all of you. With her permission, I extend this Thank You to everyone who made a contribution to LACO and to our education programs this year!

Good morning!

Yesterday’s experience at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was exceptional by any standard! Not only did the children hear arguably the world’s most beloved classical work, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, in it’s entirety performed by one of the world’s most polished chamber orchestras in an exquisitely beautiful, acoustically perfect and intimate hall…

But also, some were able to sit in proscenium and balcony seats. The orchestra was conducted by its own Music Director, Jeffrey Kahane, who introduced each movement and fielded audience questions at the end.

The Orchestra members, several of whom I know, exhibited their dedication to the music in every moment. This was as first-rate an effort as it would be to a subscription audience (who will hear this program this weekend). Loreto’s assigned docent met the children before the concert and roved among them during the question period. His own enthusiasm was contagious and now familiar to the children who were treated to his school visit a week prior to the concert.

Bringing my orchestra classes is analogous to culturing sourdough yeast: the children who attended last year knew what to expect. In our pre-concert discussions they recalled in detail elements from last April. Children are the best recruiters of other children. At both Wilshire Park and Loreto, orchestra students from last year are still (!) recruiting more to join. As orchestra becomes an obviously desired activity as evidenced by the quality of LACO and the total commitment apparent on stage, children may see this as one of the models available to them.

Additional interesting questions from our children, while waiting to be dismissed, included, “How do they take the string basses home?” We watched one man replace his endpin with the wheel and I explained the concept of “cartage” and union negotiation. Another noticed the librarian collecting the folders and discovered that was an actual orchestra “job.” I loved Conductor Kahane’s demonstration, facing the audience, in response to the question from the a child, “What are you doing when you conduct? We can see only your back.”

The parents and staff who chaperoned each school were extremely appreciative of the opportunity to attend this program.

I think taking the children to such an experience is invaluable in expanding their horizons and inspiring their own engagement in orchestra classes. We reside in a music capital and yet, due to economic circumstances and limited family resourcefulness, few of our children would be brought to hear this great orchestra except for this opportunity.

Please extend gratitude to anyone for whom I had no email address (cafeteria staff, docents, chaperones, musicians and conductor). Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our field trip.

- Ginny Atherton

We are so happy to be able to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about music. You can learn more about Meet the Music at laco.org/meetmusic and see pictures of November’s Meet the Music event on our photo gallery.

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