10,000 Students to Attend Concert at Strathmore

December 1, 2005
Ruth Rales Comcast Kids Student Concerts on
December 6-8 to Feature National Philharmonic

Strathmore will open the doors of the Music Center at Strathmore on December 6, 7, and 8, 2005, to all Grade 2 students from the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), who will have the opportunity to attend a special performance at the hall. Co-presented by Strathmore, National Philharmonic, and MCPS, and sponsored by the RFI Foundation and Comcast of Montgomery County, these interactive concerts feature a performance by the National Philharmonic, under the direction of Maestro Piotr Gajewski. To accommodate the nearly 10,000 students, there will be six daytime performances in the 1,976-seat Concert Hall, two each day at 10:35 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., over the three days.

“Our kids are in for the experience of a lifetime with this trip to hear the National Philharmonic at the Music Center at Strathmore,” said Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “Our goal is to inspire young children with a love and appreciation of music that will grow and develop over a lifetime. I am especially grateful for the dedication and commitment of our public and private sector partners who are making this memorable experience a reality for our kids.”

The educational concerts are the result of a unique partnership among Strathmore, National Philharmonic, and MCPS, working together to provide the coordination, educational materials, transportation, and other support to present this outstanding musical performance for students in one of the nation's premier concert halls. The private sector partners, Comcast and RFI Foundation, provided critical funding to make this year's concerts a reality. Additional funding was provided by the Carl M. Freeman Foundation's F.A.C.E.S. of Montgomery County grant program.

“The Ruth Rales Comcast Kids Student Concerts is the perfect example of how the public sector and the private sector can work together for the benefit of children in Montgomery County. There's no question that this concert experience can have a lasting, positive effect on our kids. Maybe we'll have the next Yo-Yo Ma sitting in the audience,” said Jaye Gamble, senior vice president for Comcast's Washington Metro/Virginia region.

“Debby and I are thrilled to expand our successful second grade partnership with the school system to give all second graders this wonderful opportunity to experience the arts,” said Joshua Rales, president of the RFI Foundation. “Getting involved in the arts is a great way for kids to learn about the world around them, and it may even spark many of them to take up their own instruments.”

To enhance the educational opportunities presented during the concert, teaching materials were designed by the National Philharmonic in conjunction with MCPS for teachers to use in preparing their students for the performance. These materials were distributed in October and included a lesson plan for the instructors to teach the words and some accompanying movements for “The Berry Pickers Song” from Little Train of Caipira to the students. During the concerts, the children will sing and perform the movements as the orchestra plays.

One of the important goals of the concert experience is to allow the second grade students to listen to youth musicians, who can be role models for the younger students. Two students from the National Philharmonic/Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras Concerto competition held last May and a third student from the University of Maryland were chosen to perform a concerto with the orchestra. Violinist Matthew Lin of Potomac, who attends Thomas S. Wootton High School, and cellist Zenas Chang and trumpeter Neil Brown will each perform on one of the three days.

The Ruth Rales Comcast Kids Student Concerts will be held December 6, 7, and 8 at 10:35 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Music Center at Strathmore. The Music Center is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD, immediately adjacent to the Grosvenor-Strathmore station on Metro's Red Line.

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