2008-01-24 / News

Program encourages kids to enjoy music

By Danielle Pelletier

Violist Burchard Tang, at left, and his wife, cellist Pricilla Lee entertained children at the Melrose Avenue School. Tang told students his viola had been formerly owned by a president of the United States and it cost more than his house. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten Violist Burchard Tang, at left, and his wife, cellist Pricilla Lee entertained children at the Melrose Avenue School. Tang told students his viola had been formerly owned by a president of the United States and it cost more than his house. Photo by Andrea von Hohenleiten The young audience of third and fourth graders at Melrose Avenue School sat in rapt attention as they awaited a performance from cellist Pricilla Lee and her husband, violist Burchard Tang, who visited Jan. 17 as part of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival's annual Schools Outreach Program. Music teacher Marilyn Hostetler began by introducing the young married couple, who play professionally with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. The Kingston Chamber Music Festival was founded by famed violinist

David Kim. Started in 1991, the school outreach program sends classical musicians to 12 to 15 elementary schools during a one-week period every winter to cultivate future audiences and enlighten them about classical music.

The children at the school listened and learned about much more than music as the featured musicians talked about their instruments, careers, and the music itself while fielding a myriad of questions from the young audience.

"If we got one of them to really love music, that's the ultimate goal," Tang said when asked what he hoped to accomplish through the outreach program.

That mission was accomplished as the students sat at attention, eager to ask questions before and following the performance. One question caught Lee off guard when she was asked about the hardest song she knew.

"They're all hard," she replied as laughter filled the room.

The couple kept the presentation fun and interesting, explaining chamber music with references to Harry Potter, and likening musical teamwork with the New England Patriots.

What inspires them to work with the outreach program?

"It's always great to work with kids because they're so eager to learn," said Lee. For Tang, it's about that first experience. "Adults are going to a concert just to see a concert...the kids have never seen live music like this.It's rewarding to expose someone for the first time."

Celebrating its 20th year, this year's Kingston Chamber Music Festival is scheduled for July 22 through Aug. 1. For more information on the fesitival or the school outreach program, visit the chamber's Web site at www.Kingston- ChamberMusic.org.

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