Kids and classics An elementary evaluation of the BSO

November 19, 1990|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff

Both school and schoolchildren were misidentified in our Monday photo caption about kids at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The Immanuel Lutheran School students are Yetunde Tanare, top, Lauren Wegner, center left, Renard Wilson, center right, and Erica Anderson.

3' The Evening Sun regrets the errors.

FOUR MUSIC critics from Essex Elementary School settled in at the Meyerhoff Concert Hall and considered the business at hand: critiquing the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Stephanie Litzenberger, fifth-grader, said "This is nice. My mom doesn't like classical music. She likes soft rock."

Kevin Rasmussen, fourth-grader and a violinist, nodded: "This is real neat. My family doesn't play this kind of music at home. That's why I like it here."


Jennifer Birchfield, fifth-grader: "The seats are comfortable."

Becky Cummins, fifth-grader and bass clarinetist, after hearing Beethoven's metronome joke "tick . . . tick . . . tick" in the Eighth Symphony: "I liked that, it goes fast."

Litzenberger, after Leonard Bernstein's Overture to Candide: "It changes a lot in the musical groups."

Rasmussen, after a Bela Bartok piece: "I liked it when they change the tempos."

Birchfield, after BSO Associate conductor Christopher Seaman vigorously conducted the ''1812 Overture'': "I like the way his red hair shakes."

Cummins, after the cannons, soldiers riding and church bells of the ''1812'': "The best one." From Adolphus Hailstork's "Celebration" to Mendelssohn's "Wedding March," the critics liked a lot, even "those screws and big round things in the ceiling," the acoustic dishes.

The group of 75 Essex students from the Mace Avenue school were with music teacher Ken Gogel and classroom teachers Sue Torr, Kathy De Hart and Mary Strauss. "The kids are surprised how big and luxurious the hall is," Torr said. "They ask lots of questions . . . like 'Where are the expensive seats?'"

So what didn't they like? Leaving the joint, it turned out. All in all, it wasn't a bad morning for 2,400 students to get out of school for a while and hear an imaginative concert of 50 minutes marking the BSO's 75th birthday. The orchestra made the children feel like it was the Celebrity Series.

Rebecca Karpoff, coordinator of education programs, helped plan the event, put on six times last week for more than 13,000 area fourth- through eighth-graders in the Music for Youth program. Schools had been prepared with BSO packets, including tapes. Other Music for Youth shows are planned for various age groups later in the year.

Rheda Becker, the Leonard Bernstein of Baltimore music communicators, narrated, starting with how Adrian Semo, the concertmaster, and the oboist tune the BSO. Orchestras use the oboe because it resists pitch changes and its piercing tone is easily heard by everyone.

Seaman helped in the fun. He showed a metronome and different instruments, invited the 2,400 to blow out one candle on the birthday cake (they did and the house lights went out) and directed rhythmic applause.

"Stars and Stripes Forever" sent the crowd out happy, at least until the buses got back to school.

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