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by Camilla Andersson, staff writer

On Oct. 17 the symphony hosts its first youth concert at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall, inviting schools to participate in a fun and educational musical experience.

The goal is to give children an appreciation of music. Performances range from concerts for “Tiny Tots” and all the way up to 6th grade. This year’s theme is “The Composers Toolbox: Music can tell a story.” The focus is on three big words; tempo, dynamics and timbre.

The symphony plays the same pieces for all the different age groups, and the conductor guides the children to an understanding of the music.

“ The conductor doesn’t just walk out, have the orchestra play the music, and that’s it,” says Norma Chun from the Symphony Education Department. “We want the kids to have a consummating experience.”

Before the kids get to Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall, they receive preparation materials from the symphony staff. The preparation materials include information about composers and the different instrument families. A CD is included to provide a taste of what the experience will be like. There is also a song that the children can learn and sing along with the orchestra.

The symphony doesn’t just offer youth concerts at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall; it also visits schools with ensembles so that the kids can get an up-close relationship with the musicians.
Participating is also a huge part of the Honolulu Symphony’s partnership program with Carnegie Hall. That program is called “Link up!” and all the children who participate get a flute, CD and book. They practice in school and when it’s time to come and visit the symphony, they all play together.

Chun, who has been a teacher herself for many years, remembers going to youth concerts with her students back in the 1960s. “Back then there were student soloists playing with the orchestra,” she recalled. “Some of them actually have their own music studios today.”

This is the ultimate goal for the youth program— to get more kids interested and knowledgeable about music and to continue their musical studies. The symphony has the potential of reaching over 50,000 students with their concerts and according to Chun, “it’s just a matter of schools to sign up.”

HPU students who want to do volunteer work with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra should contact Kristin Jackson at 524- 0815 ext. 232.


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