Symphony Guild’s children’s concert with Maestro Philip Mann

By SANDY JOHANSENStaff writer
“He painted sounds of his music as America was a new world and he created the ‘New World Symphony.”“This next number is full of strings,” said Mann. Ward and lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates. 9 at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.Conducting a full ASO orchestra was maestro Philip Mann. With Joplin’s musical roots in African-American tradition, he brought a new musical culture to the American scene. and is probably the most well-known march in the world. The music was “America the Beautiful,” music by Samuel A. Their trips from Boston to Colorado and summer outings at Coney Island and New York City created a piece of music inspired by America’s landscape and brave heroes.Mann asked students if they had ever seen a piñata. formed our culture, including music we play and sing, along with art, books, movies and the language we speak.Mann explained the first number, written by Aaron Copland. He asked string players to display their instruments and said everyone should know the next piece. More than 3,600 elementary students from all seven Garland County school districts attended the ninth Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s children’s concert Nov. Copland loved the western frontier and his work reflects his fondness for early American pop.Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” followed, with the typical two-beat rhythm great for dancing. The composition paints a musical picture of an approaching storm with lightning, thunder and pelting rain. Mann involved his student audience by asking them to snap their fingers, clap their hands and stomp their feet to mimic sounds of a thunderstorm, not unlike the music they would hear.“Largo,” by Antonin Dvorak, was the only number presented at the concert not written by an American composer. “This number by Sousa is also known as our national march,” Mann said.The HS/HSV Symphony Guild’s teacher guides and student journals detailed the odyssey as a musical history of the people who settled America. The march is the most popular one in the U.S. However, Dvorak’s symphonies were influenced by melodies from native Americans and by African-American themes. The short and festive crowd-pleasing number blended Mexican folk music, samba rhythms and American jazz.Last, and very familiar to the students, was “Stars And Stripes Forever,” by John Philip Sousa. “Copland loved to travel and ‘Hoe Down’ was originally composed for a ballet called ‘Rodeo,’” Mann said. “Joplin was a bit of a rock star, and his music reflects his jazzy style, as this kind of music came before rock and roll and before blues,” said Mann.“Cloudburst,” from the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferdinand Grofé, was inspired by his trip across the Arizona desert to watch the sun rise. “The music you will hear is about a dance and composer Rodriguez was from Texas and had a Mexican background, so you will hear many different rhythms for dancing,” said Mann of “Piñata,” by Robert Xavier Rodríguez. Guides offered history, puzzles, maps, word associations and other helpful information to prepare students for an amazing concert.Student pre-concert materials contained links from concert pieces applicable to language studies, geology, mathematics, art, geography, poetry and cultural immigration.“I’ve brought my students to every concert and with study journals provided them and guides for instructors, it is always exciting for my students as they hear the music come to life,” said Lynn Strong, Hot Springs 5th grade science teacher.“Bringing over 250 of our students to this concert is very exciting, as it is the highlight of what they’ve learned and how it ties into all their classroom studies,” said Kristen Gordon, Oaklawn assistant principal. The theme of this year’s concert was “American Odyssey” and students were well prepared prior to the concert.Students were provided journals and teachers instructional guides coordinated with this year’s theme.The Hot Springs/Hot Springs Village Symphony Guild, along with Arkansas Learning Through The Arts, created backup educational materials and provided DVDs to prepare students in advance for the concert.“American Odyssey” followed the beginnings of America through immigration from around the world.The customs settlers brought to the U.S. “Dvorak loved to travel and he had wonderful experiences listening to the drums and the singing of diverse cultures,” said Mann.