Students hear and play Mozart's masterpieces

May 25, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD


Some fourth-graders filling the rows of The Maryland Theatre jerked their arms Wednesday to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as Maryland Symphony Orchestra conductor Elizabeth Schulze did the same.

About 1,350 fourth-graders from across the Tri-State area learned from Schulze about Mozart, whose 250th birthday was celebrated this year, during an "Amazing Mozart" performance sponsored by Citicorp. A handful of student musicians also performed, including an 11-year-old girl from Virginia.

"It's the most important work we do," Schulze said before the performance. "It's always a thrill to introduce the real masterpieces to our young friends."


North Hagerstown High School Junior Quinn Gelestino, a clarinetist, was among those selected to play with the orchestra Wednesday.

"It's all about perfection," Gelestino said about playing the instrument.

While he spoke and while other orchestra members tuned their instruments, Gelestino clicked mute scales on the keys of his clarinet. He said he wasn't nervous; he was just preparing himself.

Gelestino, who had to rush back to school to audition to be his school band's drum major, said he started playing the clarinet when he was the same age as members of the crowd Wednesday.

Becky Chase, 10, was one of those children. She just started playing the flute.

The Hooverville Elementary School fourth-grader said she had never seen a symphony perform, but she said she knew a thing or two about Mozart.

"I know that he started to write his music when he was 6 years old and played before an audience when he was 8," she said. "I didn't know that he was that long ago, but he was kind of around with George Washington."

The Waynesboro, Pa., girl said she thinks Mozart played his cards right.

"If you really like music, you should start when you're young so you can get really good and maybe be in the world records," she said.

Madison Vest started playing violin when she was 4 years old. On Wednesday, the Charlottesville, Va., sixth-grader played the rondo from Mozart's Haffner Serenade.

Madison, 11, who has played with the Richmond (Va.) Symphony Orchestra, said she was excited to play for children her age.

"Hopefully, it will inspire them to play an instrument," she said.

When Madison, wearing a long peach gown, took the stage, the crowd fell silent. Some children sat on the edge of their seats as Madison dipped her body, making quick and sometimes long swings with her bow.

Before the performance, Pangborn Elementary School fourth-grader Anthony Rosario said he was impressed to hear an 11-year-old would be playing. But he said classical music is not his thing. He said he prefers hip-hop, and held his fingers apart about an inch to indicate how much he likes classical music.

"I'm not really into that kind of music," he said. "It doesn't show my madness or my happiness. My music shows my mood."

Jackie Moser, a fourth-grader at Greenbrier Elementary School, said she likes all music, especially country.

"It makes me feel energetic. I just want to get up and run around," she said.

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