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Kids get into the spirit of Mozart

March 01, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Wei-Lin Wang's daughter Elysia is only 3 years old but she already knows classical music when she hears it.

Elysia recognizes classical music she has heard in her favorite movies when the tunes appear in different contexts, her mother said.

Elysia also has her own little keyboard, and sometimes jumps up to her mother's piano, where she tries to sing and play along with her mother.

Wang was hoping to further spark her daughter's interest in classical music with a preconcert event for children at the Washington County Free Library on Sunday.

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Every year, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra performs a family concert to help introduce local children to classical music.

Sunday's concert at The Maryland Theatre paid tribute to famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the preconcert event at the library helped kids get into the spirit of the show.

At the library, children heard "Mozart Finds a Melody," a fictional tale about a time when Mozart could not come up with a tune for an upcoming concert. In the story, Mozart finally finds inspiration in a string of notes produced by his pet starling.

In real life, Mozart had an imaginary place he went called Backwards Island and in keeping with the theme, kids in Sunday's program created their own Backwards Island with paper cutouts.

Among those who attended Sunday's library program were Nikisha Tyler and her three children, Jermaine, 11, Michael, 6, and Aaron, 5.

Jermaine has taken an interest in baritone at Western Heights Middle School and Tyler said she was particularly interested in Sunday's program to help introduce her son Michael to classical music.

When asked why he chose baritone, Jermaine responded, "It's a big instrument." Tyler said Jermaine's interest in the instrument has been interesting.

"I think he's the only one (who plays it in his grade)," Tyler said.

Also at Sunday's preconcert event, Kimberly Valerio, principal flutist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, demonstrated to those in attendance how she blows across the top of the flute to produce sounds.

Valerio told the students they could achieve basically the same results by blowing across the top of an empty plastic soda bottle. The wind passing across the top of the bottle creates a vibration, which causes a sound, she said.

Sunday's program was free and 40 children participated, which is the maximum number of attendees, said Gregory R. Evans, director of marketing and public relations for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

"It's very popular. We have to take reservations and cut it off at some point," Evans said.

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