Symphony performs for area students

The Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra hosted its 24th annual educational concert “Musical ABC’s: The Building Blocks of Music,” for more than 1,100 fifth-graders from throughout Southeast Arkansas on Monday afternoon.

The event is held annually at the Pine Bluff Convention Center on the day after the symphony’s first concert of the season.

“We had students from Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel, White Hall and Ridgway as well as home schoolers,” PBSO spokeswoman Cheryl Fox said. “It was definitely a success.”

Fox said the program was set up to describe the basic elements of music; including rhythm, pitch, harmony, musical form, instruments of the orchestra and how they are put together to make a piece of music.

“Ronald McDonald was here and directed the orchestra in its first piece,” Fox said. “Our conductor Charles Jones Evans explained how a composer does a pattern of music. Ronald McDonald assisted him by picking out a volunteer from the audience who was asked to clap out a rhythm. Then the symphony repeated the rhythm.”

Fox said that in this way the children were taught how patterns of music are blended together to create whole compositions.

The orchestra performed “Hoedown” and “Variations on a Shaker Melody” by Aaron Copland (1900-1990); “Carillon and Farandole” from incidental music to the play “L ‘Arlesienne (The Girl from Arles)” by Georges Bizet (1838-1875); “Trepak” from the ballet “The Nutcracker” by Peter I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893); and “Rondo (Finale)” from “String Quartet No. 4” in C minor (arranged for orchestra) by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)