Written by Phil Cerroni
Oftentimes, children view classical music through the looking glass, as inaccessible emotionally as it is difficult to play. In order to dissolve this preconception, the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra (LCSO) partnered with Irving ISD to bring every fourth grader in the district ‘Conversations with Music.’ From Sept. 16-27, a cellist and pianist from the local orchestra toured 2o of Irving’s elementary schools, enchanting kids with the beauty of live music.
After getting the kids’ attention with popular pop and movie tunes, including Stay by Rihanna and the theme from Star Wars, the musicians launched into an abridged history of western music from the baroque to modern classical, through the compositions of Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.
“I think...just picking repertoire is important…some kids I think do hear that classical music – (Mozart’s) Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A little Night Music) - stuff they know and they really do connect to it and want to play it,” said cellist, Drew Johnson. “And if they don’t, well that’s why we throw some Rihanna in there and some Thrift Shop and some Call Me Maybe and what ever gets the other kids excited about playing and showing off to their friends, as well.”
Although the project’s immediate goal is to encourage fourth graders to participate in one of IISD’s fine arts programs that start in fifth grade, the musicians hoped their short performance sparks a lasting love of music.