“I start a picture and I finish it. I don’t think about art while I work. I try to think about life.”
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
It’s school concert season, and today I was reminded of why I do what I do for a living.
Symphony Nova Scotia played for an hour for about two hundred school children, ranging in ages from five to fourteen. Our program was varied, and it really caught the students’ interest. Among other things, we played excerpts from Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (“Pastoral”). The musicians all got a kick out of the younger children’s reactions to the Storm movement; and watching the ten-year-olds quacking on the duck call, tweeting on the water whistle, and tooting the cuckoo during The Toy Symphony* was an exercise in self-restraint. Actually, there was little self-restraint; most of us hooted with indulgent laughter. While LeRoy Anderson’s Waltzing Cat may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it sure grabbed the little ones sitting cross-legged on the gymnasium floor. And I think the theme from The Simpsons raised the mercury on our cool-meter.
All of which is to say, I was reminded of how important school concerts are; of how exposure to a symphony orchestra concert can change a young person’s life and shape the way they listen to music. Which is why I’m pleased to be involved in this event, a fundraiser for Symphony Nova Scotia’s Education/Outreach programs. Do have a look at the video on the link; it’s beautiful and very, very cool.
(*Written by either Haydn or Leopold Mozart; the authorship is in dispute.)