The reports are in – the Children’s concerts at Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg on September 26th were a big success. As predicted, the musicians found the music quite challenging – one member even enquiring “Why are we playing the hardest music of the year for our children’s concert?” However, much credit goes to conductor Les Pfutzenreuter…. “clear beat, very good with choir, patient and kind”….”Les’ beat is very clear and he conducted our one rehearsal very well and it all came together”.
The music was exciting and varied, from a waltz, to a jazzy crazy bus ride with every percussion instrument known to woman, to a poignant and contemplative oboe solo, to multi-meter dramatic movie music with horns, trombones and trumpets, to the final movement with the FB and MHS choirs.
The fact that the High School choirs were going to sing was billed as a “surprise,” so the choirs sat on the risers and weren’t visible to the audience until they stood up at the end to sing their part. The kids in the audience WERE surprised and responded very positively The instrument demos were kind of fun – everyone competed to see who could do either the same kind of thing (like western or Irish music even on the string bass) or something harder and flashier than the person before.
It was really quite something to see the dozen or so school buses all lined up on different streets, collecting the kids to take them back to school. Various civic groups and local businesses contributed much of the money to pay for transporting all those kids. It seemed this time as though everyone must have been there, since there were 3 performances, and the hall was pretty full all 3 times.
A big thank you to all who contribute to the behind the scenes support needed to put on a performance like this.
And another big thank you and congratulations to Mary K Champagne, principal of Redwood Elementary and all the other teachers involved for encouraging polite, attentive behavior as audience members. This is not something that we can take for granted!
And from the point of view of Jenni Windsor, who directed the choirs involved: “It was a great experience for the students to sing with the orchestra and one not many high school choirs have an opportunity in which to participate. We are so fortunate to have a symphony in this little community. I thought the whole event went well and my students were certainly pleased with the outcome. Both the Mendocino choir director and I love any opportunity that gives our young musicians a chance to work with and learn from another conductor. It was a joy for them to participate in bringing music to the younger students through Harry Potter, which many of them remember starting to read in the third grade. Finally, it is awesome when our two school districts can get together to collaborate on something positive. Hopefully this will be the first of other such collaborations.”