Twenty or 30 times a year, groups of musicians present Up Close and Musical special instrumental music programs for students in schools in Arapahoe and Douglas counties. “Usually we have about 13 …
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Twenty or 30 times a year, groups of musicians present Up Close and Musical special instrumental music programs for students in schools in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
“Usually we have about 13 musicians take part in a program, most of whom are members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra,” said Eric Bertoluzzi, program founder. “Each musician plays one of the major instruments in the orchestra. The program plays a series of musical compositions so each instrument is featured in one of the compositions to demonstrate the sound each instrument makes.”
He said the program is designed to be a “musical sound bite” that allows children to hear the performance of each instrument individually as well as the instruments all playing their parts together.
“Today here is more emphasis on academics and not as much on the arts,” Bertoluzzi said. “It is not unusual for us to find that many children have never seen some of the instruments nor have they heard them played. We just hope our program stirs and possibly strengthens the interest in music in some of the children.”
Teachers are asked to send the group comments about the performance. One teacher from Acres Green Elementary School in Douglas County wrote that going into the performance she didn't realize the impact it would have on her students, and she was surprised when the children asked if they could listen to more music like that.
Another Acres Green teacher said she played music in the classroom and generally classical music wasn't well received, and that several students said they thought classical music was boring. However they liked the music played by the Up Close and Musical musicians and asked to hear more of it.
The program is funded by grants from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and from other foundations.
“All our musicians are professionals and they are paid to take part in Up Close and Musical,” Bertoluzzi said. “About 80 percent of our budget provides funds to pay our musicians.”
He said he would like to see the program in more schools but it is difficult to arrange time for the performances.
“Finding a time that works for the school as well as a time that works for the musicians is more difficult these days and we have to abide by the stricter security in schools today,” Bertoluzzi said. “So finding a time that fits the busy schedule at a school and that fits the busy schedule of musicians is not easy, but so far, we have schools that open their doors to us.”
Bertoluzzi said the next appearances for Up Close and Musical are later this month. He said the musicians are scheduled to present the program March 9 at a school in Lakewood and at Heritage Elementary School in Centennial. On March 13 the musicians will travel to Blue Heron Elementary School in Jefferson County.
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