The Starkville/MSU Symphony presents the “Sing, Dance, Clap, Draw!” concert on Friday [Nov. 8] at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium on the Starkville campus. The concert marks the third installment of this year’s 51st season. Admission is free and open to the public.
Performed by the Symphony Orchestra, the annual family concert will culminate the Symphony Association’s month-long “Programs for Children,” a multidisciplinary music education program designed to introduce area school children to symphonic music. On Friday [the 8th], more than 3,000 area K-5 children/teachers will attend three concerts in Bettersworth Auditorium. The evening concert features a selection of folk and children’s songs, as well as Symphony #1 by Prokofiev, and the famous “Farandole” from Georges Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2.
As a community-centered prelude to the evening family concert, the Symphony’s Programs for Children theme for 2019 is “Sing, Dance, Clap, Draw!” It offers elementary students the opportunity to learn and interpret several classic folk songs, numerous clapping rhythms, folk dance, and folk art.
“Our Programs for Children initiative began in 1975, and this year, we are excited to showcase the program to over 3,000 area elementary students during our daytime concerts,” said Joe Ray Underwood, Starkville/MSU Symphony Association Board member and director of the program. “Our 2019 focus on such a familiar children’s song combines art and music to introduce children to American music’s classical genre.”
The 2019 Programs for Children initiative includes an annual art competition where students create artwork which represents the story, gifts and relationships depicted in the “Hush Little Baby” lullaby. The program also includes classroom presentations and curriculum aids that teachers have used for the past several weeks to introduce the music.
The Starkville Oktibbeha School District, Starkville Home School Music Co-op, Starkville Christian School, Starkville Academy and Annunciation Catholic School are participating in this year’s program. Students from each school will attend one of the three daytime school concerts on Nov. 8, prior to the evening public concert. A visual display of student artwork from the competition will be presented at each school concert.
“Whether it’s through classroom lessons, art projects or learning choral versions of the songs, the Symphony’s goal is to introduce these treasured American favorites to our children in a new way,” Underwood said.
Programs for Children is supported in part through a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Each year, it also relies on support from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, the Starkville Area Arts Council, local school districts and MSU.
“The Programs for Children initiative is truly a community effort,” said Eric Hill, SMSA Board President. “MSU transportation and event services, the Day One program, area school administrators, art and music teachers, and Symphony musicians all work together to make it happen. And, of course, the program would not be possible without Joe Ray’s tireless efforts over the years.”
In addition to the evening family concert’s folk and children’s music theme, concert-goers will enjoy a performance of Henri Tomasi’s Concerto for Trombone, Movement III by this year’s MSU Concerto Competition winner, Daniel Joyner.
The Starkville/MSU Symphony Association was established on March 2, 1969. Under its leadership, the Symphony’s program of work has grown to support the community orchestra, chorus, and its yearly education initiative, Programs for Children. With the goal of introducing the vibrant classical music genre to an audience reflecting the entire Starkville and surrounding community, every concert has remained free and open to the public throughout the Symphony’s 50-year history.