A concert like no other: Music for All by the Symphony Orchestra offers an interactive experience – News


Illinois State Senior Alex Hibbard-Brown has been playing cello with the Illinois State Symphony Orchestra since his first year. Although each school year the orchestra performs six cycles of concerts and plays some of the most difficult music in the orchestral repertoire, its favorite performance is the annual Musique pour tous concert. This year’s performance took place on the morning of October 30 at the Performing Arts Center.

Unlike a typical orchestral concert, the audience is invited to applaud and dance while the orchestra performs.

“Making noise is encouraged, so it’s always a very inclusive atmosphere,” said Hibbard-Brown, an instrumental music education major from Libertyville. “There is never a time when we tell people to shut up. We want people to sing and just do what feels natural to them, and that makes me smile every year. “

The annual event was started by Dr Glenn Block, Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting, almost 10 years ago. By allowing audiences to engage in music and express themselves as they see fit, Block incorporates aspects of music therapy into the concert experience.

“Music therapy has documented evidence of the importance of music in helping various illnesses and challenges,” he said. “(The concert) offers a dimension to families who may not have had the means to see how music can help their own children grow and evolve.”

Prior to the performance, students of the orchestra and members of AMTA-S ISU, the Illinois State chapter of the American Music Therapy Association, stood in different areas of the atrium of the room and demonstrated how to use the instruments before allowing participants to try them out for themselves. . Instruments included congas, wooden noisemakers, a step piano and, a fan favorite, Boomwhackers, hollow plastic tubes tuned to different musical notes by length.

Available wooden noisemakers included castanets, frog guiros, and boulder taps.

At the start of the concert, the conductor, Matthew Clarke, guided the audience of about 50 parents and young children through the composition of the orchestra. He explained the composition of the four families of instruments that could be found on stage: woodwinds, brass, strings and percussion. Each section then stood alone to play a short sample of the Indiana Jones theme, “The Raider’s March”, a selection enthusiastically greeted by the public.

Then a second conductor, Guilherme Rodrigues, introduces the concept of rhythm in music. He defined the term for the audience and encouraged the audience to clap and dance as he performed another short piece that demonstrated the rhythm.

This year, the theme of the concert was Stormy Weather. Block described this theme as “descriptive, impressionistic and colorful” because the music associated with it consists of living representations of nature. Before each piece performed, the conductors, who passed between compositions, described the stories that would be heard in the music. A common narrative in the rooms has followed the life of a storm, from a slow drizzle at first, to fierce thunder at its peak, then birds chirp as the rain ends.

At many points during the concert, the conductors encouraged the children in the audience to shake the egg shakers, which were given to them during the pre-show activities. The children enthusiastically shook the instruments to the changing rhythm of the music: slow during the drizzle, fast during the storm, and still slow at the end of the compositions.

The end of the hour-long performance was greeted with enthusiastic applause, followed by lively discussions throughout the concert hall as the children, some still playing with their egg shakers, recapped their favorite parts of the show to their families. parents.

This exhibit was representative of one of Block’s hopes for the event: “For parents to see something happening in their own children because they have an experience and a fascination with sounds. “

The University Symphony Orchestra performing in the concert hall of the Center for the Performing Arts.
The theme of this year’s Music for All concert was Stormy Weather.

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