Cleveland Orchestra musicians visit So. Fla. school
DOWNTOWN MIAMI (WSVN) -- One of the world's greatest orchestras is reaching out to the South Florida community to share their passion for music.
On Friday, musicians with the Cleveland Orchestra paid a special visit to students from the Headstart Program at Charles Drew Elementary School in Liberty City.
Cellist Brian Thornton used improvisation and imaginative storytelling to engage and inspire the busy 4- and 5-year-olds, many of whom have never seen a cello before or have even been exposed to classical music. One student remarked that the cello's sounds were "awesome."
"Cleveland is one of the best orchestras in the world, and these kids normally would never see someone of that caliber," said public school music teacher Yaron Sarch.
Friday's visit was part of the Cleveland Orchestra's Community Outreach Program, which involves musicians from the orchestra visiting South Florida schools on the three weekends they perform here, in the wintertime. Thornton said, "For a lot of us, this is the most important thing that we do outside the orchestra: Come out to schools and touch kids' lives with music."
"We really want to be part of the Miami community," said Joan Katz, the director of education and community programs for the Cleveland Orchestra. "We don't want to just do drive-by performances. It's important for us to be authentically engaged in the community, and working with schools, teachers and students is the best way to do that."
The Cleveland Orchestra also invites South Florida schools to attend special performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, during which principal guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero gave students a show by fusing classical music with the Latin beats of Cuban salsa band Tiempo Libre. "All you need to enjoy great music, including classical music, is a pair of ears. The same way that all you need to enjoy great art is a pair of eyes, and when you're able to promote it in that regard and make people come to the concert hall to attend performances, that is the way you continue growing this art form," Guerrero said.
Students who witnessed the orchestra in action loved the classical-salsa fusion. One girl said, "It's fun, and it makes me wanna dance."
The Cleveland Orchestra Miami will be performing at the Adrienne Arsht Center this weekend. There will be a family concert Saturday at 2 p.m. with salsa band Tiempo Libre. The orchestra's huge classical music extravaganza will take place Saturday night at 8, featuring works by Beethoven, Grieg and Respighi.
Tickets are still available for both shows.
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