News Column

Young composers hear their works performed

May 5, 2014

By Mary Keck, Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.

May 05--It was time for the world premiere, when yellow school buses pulled up to the Musical Arts Center at Indiana University. One by one, students took their seats on the red, plush chairs, and their young voices filled the grand hall.

"You're the first audience to ever hear these pieces performed," Brent Gault, of the IU Jacobs School of Music, told the fifth-graders.

They may not be world famous yet, but the composers who came up with the melodies for the IU Symphony Orchestra were familiar to the audience because they were students from Monroe County.

As part of the Kids Compose program, students and teachers work together to develop melodies, and then the IU Jacobs School of Music chooses eight winners whose melodies are performed at the concert.

"It makes me feel really good, like I did something," said Abbey Armstrong, an 11-year-old from St. Charles Catholic School.

She said her melody, called "Thunderstorm," came from working in F minor, a scale that Abbey used to inspire her stormy tune. The music began with a slow rhythm that dropped like rain and then became louder.

Abbey's mother, Julia Armstrong, who attended the performance, was surprised by her daughter's composition. "Abbey is terrified of thunderstorms," she said. "It's great that she could channel her fear into something so amazing."

Finding inspiration from scary moments was how Stav Katz, from Binford Elementary School, was able to compose her melody called "Danger."

She remembers walking into piano lessons with her younger brother, who thought he saw the figure of a man hiding in the shadows. To comfort her little brother, Stav said, "I'll sing a bad song to scare him away."

The result of her song is "Danger," a melody with a quick rhythm that sounds like a chase.

As their classmates' compositions were played, the fifth-graders in the audience were captivated. Some sat forward with their chins in their hands, while others lifted their arms to mimic the conductors.

"If you practice a lot, you can sound this good," said David Loebel, one of the conductors who led the orchestra.

Some students already have plans to do just that. "I would like to be in an orchestra one day," Abbey said.


--Stav Katz, Binford Elementary

--Lily Zeichner, Childs Elementary

--Abbey Armstrong, St. Charles Catholic School

--Katrine Bruner, Templeton Elementary

--Daniel Larsen, University Elementary

--Casey Thomas, Summit Elementary

--Leah Duke, Lakeview Elementary

--Richard Pope, Grandview Elementary

Kids Compose Finalists

--Olivia Clements and David Baumann, University Elementary

--Miles York, Binford Elementary

--Jacqueline Henderson, University Elementary

--Corey Prouse, Templeton Elementary

--Phillip Hammond, St. Charles Catholic School

--Luke Marion, Binford Elementary

--Eric Kim, University Elemenary

--Skylar MacLean, St. Charles Catholic School

--John Beggs, Childs Elementary

--Rhianna Gides, University Elementary

--Mr. Chistopher Stedman's 5th, Templeton Elementary

--Mariele Berin, St. Charles Catholic School

--Francisco Flores, Grandview Elementary

--Elisabeth R.O. Siena, Harmony School

--Hannah Ringquist, Arlington Elementary

--Mary Jachim, Marlin Elementary

--Regan Theile and Peyton Scott, Binford Elementary

--Jolie Mae Voss, Grandview Elementary

--Christine Gerber, Clear Creek Elementary

--Kira Kunzman, University Elementary

-- Compiled by Mary Keck


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Source: Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN)

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