New program aims at students


September 02, 1994|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Special to The Sun

"It is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated to it," Aristotle wrote some 2,400 years ago in his "Politics."

The Annapolis Symphony seems to be taking those words to heart these days, for the orchestra is about to launch an educational program that will bring second-graders from county elementary schools in Annapolis and South County to Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts to hear the orchestra perform under its ++ conductor Gisele Ben-Dor.

"It's no secret that symphony orchestras across the country are losing audiences," says Pamela Chaconas, the ASO's new director of education. "In our search for ways to build an audience, the answer is always education."

On Oct. 20, county youngsters will be treated to performances of Bach's Second Suite, the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Winds, and Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," to be narrated by Baltimore jazz singer Ethel Ennis and acted out by the Bob

Brown Puppets.

"I cannot think of a better introduction to the symphonic experience for young children than 'Peter and the Wolf,' " says Ms. Ben-Dor. "They will follow the story, hear the music, and learn that going to a concert means having a wonderful time."

Before the concert, the ASO will send a speaker and one of its musicians to each elementary school to meet with students and discuss symphony orchestra concerts.

Lesson plans, including teacher study guides, recorded samplings of the music to be performed, and illustrations of instruments will be furnished. There will also be activities designed to teach youngsters how to conduct music.

Financial support for the new program will come from the Anne Arundel County schools and from grants awarded by the Chamber Music Society of Annapolis and the Maryland State Arts Council.

To finance the program further, the ASO is completing its first-ever application to the National Endowment for the Arts.

"We have to establish already in schoolchildren the belief that music belongs to everyone and is, with a little effort, available to everyone," said the Hungarian composer and educator Zoltan Kodaly.

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