Kids get close to symphony orchestra

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Contributed photo With the audience applauding for the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, Director Russell Ger points to one of the featured performers.

Going Places on a Gallon

People often say there’s not much to do here. You may agree during the winter. But if you’re willing to get out of the house and burn up to a gallon’s worth of gas, you’ll  find something that can be fun.

We used much less than a gallon for a round trip visit to the GNSO Family Concert, an event we previewed last week.

On Jan. 21, Russell Ger stepped in front of the orchestra at Aquinas Hall and saw a dozen kids on the floor between the front row and the stage. Mr. Ger didn’t shoo them away. He grabbed the microphone and invited other youngsters to come down and join them. “This is your concert,” he said. “Your parents and grandparents are your guests.”

Mr. Ger is the music director of the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, which played a family concert at Mount Saint Mary College on Saturday afternoon.

Before entering the hall, you could enjoy a cliffside view of the Hudson River. And on an unseasonably warm afternoon, you wondered if the lure of the outdoors would keep audience members away. But it didn’t.

The only empty seats were the ones that youngsters abandoned on their way to the front of the hall. From their prime location, they could almost shake hands with the narrator (Sorab Wadia), who sat on the edge of the stage with his legs dangling below him.

He read “Rapunzel” as the orchestra accompanied him with excerpts from famous compositions that matched the mood of the story. Mr. Wadia also captured the mood with facial expressions that ranged from alarm to amazement.

Vivaldi’s “Spring” was one of the “Rapunzel” themes. The orchestra repeated it later with Gia Anasco Lin as the violin soloist. “How many of you in the audience are 10 years old?” Mr. Ger asked. After a few hands went up, Miss Lin (a fifth-grader) walked on stage. She played without any music in front of her, and received a bouquet of flowers and a standing ovation when she was finished.

She then sat in the second row and listened to the balance of the concert. Kids in the audience were probably hesitant to approach her. They did visit with a bassoon player who joined the crowd during the intermission, and let kids listen to her instrument and feel the wind coming out of it.

The orchestra’s next concert is at 7:30 p.m. on March 18 in the same venue.

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Editorial Staff