Thursday, July 17, 2008

Final Concerts

Kate finished off her Suzuki Institute with her group concert on Thursday and her orchestra concert on Friday. We then watched the musical theatre group's production of The Mikado, which was loads of fun.

The photo shows the junior orchestra playing in Queen's University's majestic Grant Hall. As a parent spectator, the orchestra class was definitely the most interesting to watch. The progress they made over the week was quite impressive. On Monday, the twenty-five kids, most in the 7-12 age range, received the music for three pieces, each having four parts (violin I, II, III, plus cello). They had only five one-hour rehearsals, and they performed the pieces on Friday afternoon. Sure, the performance was a bit rough in spots, but I find it amazing that they could play together at all. Only a fraction of the group had extensive orchestra experience; some kids had never played in this kind of setting before and were scared stiff on Monday. It helped that the teacher was an incredible instructor -- dynamic, energetic, witty, encouraging and completely in control of the group. I'm convinced that it takes a very, very special kind of person to teach junior orchestra.

The orchestra played a couple of folk songs ("Raggle-Taggle Gypsies" and "Hey Fiddle Fiddle") but the crowd favourite was "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". Kate loved this piece and sang it continually for days. In the confined space of a residence room, this was rather trying. So in some ways, it's a relief the Suzuki Institute is over, but we enjoyed it enough that we will probably do it again next year.

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