WILMINGTON -- Music appreciation is an important element of education in the New Hanover County school district. Wednesday children attending the fourth grade had the extraordinary chance to add beauty, elegance and inspiration to their lives.
Dozens of hours of classroom preparation and logistical coordination culminated in an exciting learning opportunity for more than 1,700 fourth graders in New Hanover County.
Blair Elementary music teacher Jill Robertson said, "The North Carolina Symphony comes every year to give a concert for these students, and it's an educational program that the symphony designs for our children. For some of these kids, it's the only chance they will ever have to see and hear a live symphony, so we're really excited."
NC Symphony orchestra conductor William Henry Curry said, "We are musical missionaries and we are very proud of our mission. We educate thousands of kids every year with the help of these great music teachers."
Robertson said, "The kids learn about the instruments of the orchestra, they learn about the composers and the music that they're going to hear prior to coming to the concert today."
Fourth grade student Marley Hughes said, "They've been looking forward to it all week and they have been, like, 'Oh, I can't wait to go to the symphony. I can't wait till it happens!'"
Curry said, "We're talking about the various elements that make up music -- the dynamics, the loud and soft, textures, melodies, variations… So they're learning quite a bit in addition to some of the great composers, including Beethoven."
Fourth grade student Kamirr Keyes said, "I learned about the music and about the trumpets and all that stuff."
"There are as many types of music," Marley said. "Like sometimes, there's the bass, there's the piano, there's the string and there's many other types, too."
The message that Curry wants to get across to the students? "That we're just as good as Beyonce!"
Curry said, "The most important thing for me is not to educate them, really, but to entertain them. I want them to know that classical music is just as entertaining as any other music ever written, and I think if it's entertaining, they'll come back to it."
Kamirr said, "The show was fun and awesome!"
Marley said, "All the music and all the instruments and everyone around, it was just a phenomenon!"
On one selection the children even got a chance to sing along with the symphony. Based on the rapt attention, the smiles and the applause, this field trip was a huge success.