Winter Concert I – A Smashing Success
Last Tuesday the hall at the Ben Franklin Institute was bursting with music and pride as our K1/K2 Rockstars and Abreu and Bernstein Orchestras performed for over 400 friends and family. After introductory remarks from Head of School, Diana Lam and El Sistema Co-Director, Kat Jara, our youngest students sang three songs. Led by Early Childhood Music educators Tess Plotkin and David Cordes, this choir of 100 voices began with a children’s song, I‘m Growing Up, by M. A. Amadon. They then moved on to Charlie Parker Played Bebop, the words from a book by Chris Raschka about Charlie Parker and the tune from Parker’s A NIght in Tunisia. It was a joyful and sophisticated performance enhanced by accompaniment by Resident Artists Brad Barrett on bass and Juan Ruiz on clarinet. They finished their set with a rousing rendition of Lovely Day by Bill Withers.
Next up, El Sistema Co-Director Josue Gonzalez led the Abreu Orchestra through their three songs. This group of 1st and 2nd grade beginning string players played Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle and D Major Canon, all elements of the Suzuki repertoire. They delighted the audience with their form, their pizzicato (plucking) and their ability to look and sound like an orchestra after so little time together. We expect great things from this orchestra!
The final ensemble of the afternoon concert was the Bernstein String Orchestra led by Kat Jara. These 2nd graders wowed the audience with their lovely sound in the traditional song, Dona Nobis Pacem. The last song on the program, Colombian composer Juan Antonio Cuellar’s Himno, may have sounded familiar to some as it was the song played by all the El Sistema inspired programs at last year’s Showcase. Written for a young orchestra, this song has an important role in El Sistema.