Hundreds of Lincoln County fifth-graders made their musical debut with the North Carolina Symphony Thursday morning.
â€œI loved it,â€ said Jason Lambeck, a student at Iron Station Elementary School. â€œYouâ€™re a kid, and youâ€™re playing with professionals.â€
The symphonyâ€™s stop in Lincolnton has been a long-time tradition. Thursday evening, the symphony presented a concert for adults, but the morning was all about educating children.
â€œItâ€™s an honor,â€ said Rena Summerlin, a music teacher at St. James Elementary School. â€œNot very many schools in North Carolina get to come and play with the symphony.â€
Many music classes spent all semester preparing for the visit to the symphony.
â€œItâ€™s a real curriculum-enriching opportunity,â€ said Elaine Jenkins, associate superintendent for curriculum.
Itâ€™s also an excellent opportunity for students to connect with their creative, musical sides.
â€œWho knows what this may spark in a child,â€ Jenkins said. â€œI say every year â€˜Someday one of you may be sitting up here.â€™â€
Even if they never pursue a career in music, the field trip at least provided a morning of educational enjoyment.
Alex Mason, a student at Iron Station Elementary School, said the event was like â€œgoing to a carnival and having so much fun.â€
Mason and her fellow students behaved themselves by sitting quietly and listening while the symphony performed.
The North Carolina Symphony played two concerts Thursday â€“ one for area fifth-grade students (pictured above) and an evening performance for adults. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
Listening-time was always interrupted with interaction, however. Assistant Conductor Joan Landry often addressed the children asking them questions (â€œDid that sound happy?â€), complimenting the audience (â€œVery good listening everybodyâ€) and pointing out instruments (â€œThe bassoons â€“ take a look at them. Beautiful!â€).
The students also had a chance to put their recorders to their lips and play with the symphony.
More than one student left proclaiming â€œI love musicâ€ and planning to continue studying it â€“ something music teachers love to hear.
â€œMusic is important to all areas of academic study,â€ Summerlin said. â€œIt teaches self control, discipline. It gives students an ability to express themselves in ways they may not experience in other areas of life.â€
by Sarah Grano