Members of the Upper Perkiomen High School marching band and their instructors play as a group for students in third, fourth and fifth grades at Marlborough Elementary School. The presentation showcased musical opportunities in the school district.
Marlborough Elementary students got an up-close-and-personal look at a variety of musical instruments Tuesday morning as part of an annual program partnering Upper Perkiomen High School musicians with their younger counterparts.
For many it was the first time to see and hear what string, bass and percussion are really like.
“Basically this is showing third-, fourth- and fifth-graders all the musical possibilities in the school district,” said Marlborough instrumental music and chorus Director Margaret Lerch. Lerch said she hopes the annual effort will continue to build the music program at Upper Perk.
“For a lot of kids this is their first time seeing anything like this, so they get really excited.”
What the students got to see were several performances by the high school orchestra, marching band and color guard, under the direction of Dr. Mark Thomas and Cassidy Nalepa, respectively. In addition to group selections, the orchestra and band highlighted each instrument for the students so they could see how it is played and hear its unique sound.
Among the strings, students cheered for Grace Lingenfelter’s rendition of the “Jaws” theme on bass, and told Lerch they thought the violins sounded “smooth like a Hershey’s kiss” and compared viola music to “rock candy because it’s harder.”[+]]
They also experienced short solos on piccolo, flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, alto and tenor saxophone, trombone, and snare, quints and bass drums, as well as the shaker and cow bell.
“This could be a big day for you,” Lerch said to students during the assembly, telling them if they chose to get involved in instrumental music, they could take group lessons during the school week and/or as a fifth-grader they could sing in chorus, with before-school practices.
In addition to a spring concert, students have the chance to perform at local venues like nursing homes and at other special events.
“Band is a great way to make friends and see the world,” noted Sarah Goslin, fourth through eighth grade band director.
Overall, learning to play and performing with a musical instrument was something many of the high school students recommended to the kids.
“When you’re older and you know how to play it can be a stress reliever,” said Sydney Scripture, who has been playing violin for five years.
“It’s also easier at the high school level if you’re experienced [and start playing in elementary school],” explained violinist Courtney Eidle.
Lerch said all the students at the assembly got papers providing an overview of the district’s music program and a sign-up sheet for learning an instrument. Once that paperwork is returned, first-time students will have the chance to “test drive” instruments to see which one suits them best.
In addition to increasing brain development and developing a sense of responsibility and discipline, Lerch said getting involved in the music program can give kids a more positive school experience overall.
“It puts them in a social setting, and music helps them think logically, which helps them with math and science. They also have the opportunity to travel and get out into the community. There are a lot of pluses.”