For the 13th year, the Hot Springs/Hot Springs Village Symphony Guild along with Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, coordinated the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Children’s concert recently at OZK Arena in Hot Springs for area students grades third to sixth.
The theme was “Story-Time” as teachers and students were provided guides and journals to guide them through their learning experience with a goal to write their own stories. The students have been involved in their study of various composers and their music and how it relates to not only the musical composition, but the history of the story it portrays.
Students also had integrated information on all the orchestral instruments and the conductor.
Opening the program was the exciting Gioachino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.” Geoffrey Robson, ASO associate conductor, offered background for each presentation and the story it encompassed.
Setting of quiet waters was the theme of Claude Debussy’s, “La Mer.” Themes and outlines were covered in “Sprach Zarathustra” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
A very popular story’s music was enjoyed as the students listened to John Williams’  “Harry Potter Symphonic Suite. “
Not to be forgotten, the ASO, presented the theme stories of “Romeo and Juliet,” “Ride of the Valkyries” and “The Firebird Suite: Berceuse and Finale.”
The yearly concert is very special as it brings music to the foreground of a yearly theme; this being a challenge for students to write their own stories, as music is bringing to life the narrative themes.
The student guides offered detailed story similarities to the music students to be heard. “William Tell Overture” began with harmonies reflecting dawn later changing tempo and volume to match the oncoming storm and the calm that followed.
Each selection played by the ASO, tied into student’s story time tale, surrounding each with music written to bring characters and feelings to life.
Widely enjoyed by the student audience was John Williams’ “Harry Potter Symphonic Suite.” Due to the popularity of the books and movies about orphan Harry Potter who discovers he’s a wizard along with his friends, Ron and Hermione, Williams’ music brought  Hogwarts School of Witchcraft to a more personal reflection of each character. Students were particularly enthusiastic hearing these familiar melodies played by the ASO to perfection.
Prior to the concert, students learned a great deal of information on individual instruments and how they portray particular feelings and sounds. Of particular interest was “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” which spotlights the bassoon and how it sets the mood for unexpected magic and consequences of the mistakes made by an apprentice.
Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” was offered as students were in tune to the musical twists and turns of the classic romantic story and its tragic ending.
The students were invited to challenge their vocabulary skills accompanying Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” The exciting finish to the concert was Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite” spotlighting the ballet.
Many thanks go to nearly 100 underwriters and volunteers. Special thanks go to the school district teachers for their accomplishments with the curriculum provided teaching their students that arts teach students to think through and within a material and that questions have more than one answer.
Volunteers for the day included members of Altrusa International, Hot Springs Village Amateur Radio Club, Hot Springs Concert Band, HS/HSV Symphony Guild members.
Concert committee members included Dorothy Morris, honorary chair; Martha Smith, chair and underwriting; Bev Thompson, logistics; Craig Well and school district teachers; Sue DeLeon, Becky Counts and Casey Wylie.