Fifth-graders get chance to lead Grand Rapids Symphony

Posted on: February 25, 2011

In Friday’s (2/25) Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), Ursula Zerilli writes, “The Grand Rapids Symphony took direction from a smaller conducting hand Thursday, as fifth-grader Sam Markus led the musicians in playing ‘The Liberty Bell’ by John Phillip Sousa before an audience filled with students. John Varineau, who has conducted the orchestra for 26 years, taught the Pinewood Elementary student proper hand motions during the morning session at the DeVos Performance Hall. Markus is one of eight students who were taken on stage this week. Thousands of fifth graders from Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa & Wexford counties were treated to the symphony for the annual Fifth Grade Concert series. The concerts are part of the symphony’s educational program, along with a curriculum that students spend months learning prior to the performances. The orchestra performed twice a day from Feb. 22-25 and entertained about 16,500 fifth graders from about 250 schools. … One aim of the program is for students to be able to identify instruments visually and by respective sounds.”

Posted February 25, 2011