String quartet visits area schools

PARKERSBURG -Members of the Montclaire String Quartet have been visiting area elementary schools this week, providing musical education to fourth-grade students in Wood and Washington counties.

Rebecca Daniel, who is on the board of directors for the symphony, said the quartet has been in the area all week performing as part of the artists-in-residence program. The visit was arranged through a joint effort of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Wood and Washington county schools as part of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra Youth Education Series, Daniel said.

Musicians are presenting a show called “The Magic Brazilwood Tree.” Quartet members Bernard Di Gregorio, viola; Andrea Di Gregorio, cello; Anton Shelepov, violin and concertmaster Amelia Chan, violin, spent about an hour with students at each stop.

They talked with students about musical terminology such as performance groupings (solo, duet, trio, quartet) and sounds (rhythm, harmony, dynamics, special effects). They also performed music to illustrate each concept with selections from classical composers such as Beethoven (noting that he was not the dog from cartoons), rock ‘n roll, and bluegrass. Daniel said student volunteers were invited to join the performers on rhythm instruments, with one student at each school actually playing rhythm on the cello.

“This is to promote music programs and arts in the schools,” Daniel said. “We do this and the young people’s concert in the fall and spring where the whole orchestra plays for second- and third-graders.”

Mary Ann Osborne, chairman of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s Parkersburg Board of Directors, explained symphony etiquette (such as when to applaud). Children were invited to the orchestra’s Oct. 20 performance at Blennerhassett School. They will perform Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring.