K-12 Music… all in a day

October 31, 2019 / Andrea Wenger

October 30, 2019 was another day of music at Eastern Mennonite School.

First and second grade strings classes shared mini concerts for parents and grandparents. All first and second graders take strings two times a week with Maria Lorcas, a program that is partially grant funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

In the Wednesday morning Gathering, K-5 students heard about the discipline and commitment involved in becoming a professional musician. Christine Fairfield, soprano, shared insights and performed, accompanied by Kathryn Schmidt, PhD, a piano instructor at Eastern Mennonite University. Mrs. Fairfield works in the EMS Front Office and is mother of three EMS students and one graduate, all who study an instrument and sing.

In Chapel for grades 6-12, Maria Lorcas led the Middle School strings in a performance of Cold Play’s Viva la Vida. Then, she performed the four-minute, Tango Etude No. 3 by Astor Piazzola, a piece that highlights the range and versatility of the instrument.

Later in the program, Mrs. Lorcas, Jared Stutzman (choir and orchestra teacher) and Brian Buchanan (band teacher, guitar and winds teacher) performed Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar (familiar from the Ken Burns miniseries The Civil War.)

Pedro Aponte, Mrs. Lorcas’ husband and professor of musicology at James Madison University, joined the stage for a Veneualan Joropo, a style that has African, Native South American, and European influences. Finally, Adam Stoltzfus and Ryan Shank, both class of 2021, joined the professional musicians as percussionists on the last song of the morning, La Bikina by Ruben Fuentes.

Making music and appreciating music together strengthens our community in so many ways!

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