May 9, 2014
VIDEO: Chamber Music Tulsa offers performances for students, concerts for all ages

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When Chamber Music Tulsa decided to be one of the partners in Any Given Child, it also wanted to treat the adults, as well.

Any Given Child is a program created by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to provide live arts experiences for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2011, Tulsa was selected as the fifth city to take part in the program and, after a two-year planning period, the first year of performances took place this academic year.

The program is a joint effort among Tulsa Public Schools, the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, the city of Tulsa and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Chamber Music Tulsa is one of 11 Tulsa performing and visual arts organizations taking part in the first year. Each organization presented programs that would reach all TPS students in a certain grade.

Kindergartners, for example, attended performances sponsored by the Tulsa PAC Trust, while fifth-graders attended a performance by Tulsa Ballet. First-graders toured Gilcrease Museum, while eighth-graders attended performances by the Tulsa Symphony.

Fourth-graders were able to attend two separate performances — one of the modern dance companies brought to Tulsa by Choregus Productions, and Chamber Music Tulsa’s hosting of the Dali String Quartet, which performed two concerts a day for students in the auditorium at Rogers High School.

“We did a total of 10 shows for the students — one in the morning, one in the afternoon for five days,” said Bruce Sorrell, Chamber Music Tulsa’s executive director.

“And the quartet had two different programs that covered the same themes, but using different music, to help keep it fresh for them.”

The Dali String Quartet is made up of musicians from Venezuela and Puerto Rico, and the program they developed for the Any Given Child programs focused on Latin music.

“They would start out with a minuet by Mozart,” Sorrell said, “and then would go on to perform a variety of dance music from Latin and South American countries — the tango, the mambo, the samba and the like.

“The best thing is this group does a great deal of programs like this, so they are very comfortable in interacting with audiences of all ages,” he said. “And we tried to limit the individual audiences to around 300 at a time, even though the auditorium could hold more, because we wanted to create a chamber music experience.”

Sorrell said that when he began discussing with school officials possible ensembles his group could bring to Tulsa for the Any Given Child program, “when I mentioned the Dali quartet, their eyes just lit up,” he said. “Because we have a large number of Hispanic students in Tulsa Public Schools, and given the fact that they are such great musicians and communicators, it made perfect sense.”

While the bulk of the Dali String Quartet’s time in Tulsa will be spent working with youngsters, Chamber Music Tulsa will also offer two free concerts open to music lovers of all ages.

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