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April 11, 2006 > 31st Annual Free Children's Concerts

31st Annual Free Children's Concerts

by Arathi Satish

Thousands of Fremont school children are introduced to classical music, concert etiquette and various instruments of a symphony orchestra by the Fremont Symphony Orchestra in their annual free children's concerts every year. The 31st Annual Free Children's Concert held on Tuesday, March 21, at Ohlone College was an amazing experience not only for the children, but also for everyone who attended it. The audience was able to enjoy music through educational performances featuring selected melodies composed by children as well as other well know orchestra pieces.

The Fremont Symphony Orchestra held its 40th annual Young Artists Competition in January. The most innovative feature of the concert was the orchestra's rendition of melodies composed by fourth through sixth grade students who entered the Young Composers Competition. Selected entries were arranged for a full symphony orchestra by composer Mark Volkert and performed by the Fremont Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro David Sloss.

The program included an excellent rendition of Star-Spangled Banner, Copland's An Outdoor Overture, Mozart's Piano Concerto No.17, K.53 - first movement with soloist Daniel Hsu of Fremont Coil School on piano (an amazing 8-year-old performer, winner of the 2006 Nafisa Taghioff Award for Musicians under the age of 16), Prokofiev's March from Lieutenant Kije, Selections from the 2006 Young Composers Competition and Rossini's William Tell Overture-Finale.

Selections from 2006 Young Composers Competition included the following: Tina Wang of Olivera Elementary School composed a sprightly and joyful tune entitled "Happy Family;" David Kanf of Millard Elementary School took us to a magical world with his composition, "Abracadabra;" Cody Lamerdin of Glenmoor Elementary School's love for fresh, juicy, plump fruits, especially luscious berries inspired him to compose "The Bouncing Berry;" Maia Rodriguez of E.L. Musick Elementary School wrote a wistful and hauntingly beautiful melody called "Lost Memories;" Courtney Tran of Warm Springs Elementary School performed "Rapids" depicting a relaxing afternoon rafting down a gentle mountain stream; Vivian Dong of Chadbourne Elementary School composed a festive and sturdy German dance perfect for parties called "A Polka in C Major" and the final piece was a composition full of contrasting character and lots of drama called "Main Theme from 'New Age Rondo,'" composed by Ray Wu of Mission San Jose Elementary School.

Margaret Thornberry, president of Fremont Cultural and Arts Council, gave the welcome speech and pointed out that "The Young Composers' competition is sponsored this year by the Celebrate Fremont Committee and Fremont Unified School District. As always, we thank our long-time collaborator and master musician, Mr. Mark Volkert, whose ingenious orchestral arrangement brings our Young Composers' melodies to life year after year." Mr. Volkert has also composed a symphonic piece titled "Fanfare for Fremont" in honor of our city's 50th birthday, which will be premiered at the Symphony's Mother's Day weekend Pops Concert on May 13 and 14 at the Smith Center at Ohlone College.

The children assembled for the concerts that took place at 10:15 a.m. and 12 p.m. and were spontaneously clapping showing how much they enjoyed the music. Their enthusiasm had them stomping their feet rhythmically sometimes. As Parvin Ahmadi, Interim Director of Elementary Education said, "Music has no language barrier and can be understood by everyone."

The Fremont Symphony Orchestra's 2006 Free Children's Concerts are sponsored by Rotary Club of Niles. Young Composers Sponsor was Celebrate Fremont Committee. The Season Sponsor is Fremont Bank Foundation. Additional support came from Fremont Symphony Guild, Fremont Unified School District, Ohlone College, Rotary Club of Fremont, Kiwanis Club of Fremont, Rotary Club of Newark, Newark Optimist Club, Music Teachers' Association, Music Performance Fund, American Federation of Musicians and individual donors of the Fremont Symphony Orchestra.

For upcoming concerts by Fremont Symphony Orchestra, visit or call (510) 794-1659.

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