Celebrating its 110th year in 2018, the Winona Symphony Orchestra held its third annual Children’s Concert for 1,200 local elementary students Tuesday at Winona State University’s Somsen Hall, featuring Dr. Suess’ classics “Gertrude McFuzz” and “Green Eggs and Ham” set to music.
The performance was part of a $10,000 Arts and Cultural Heritage grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, arts administrator for the symphony, Christine Martin said. This grant, said symphony board president and violinist Tim Hornseth, helps schools send students to the concert at nearly no cost, with the exception of transportation.
During the symphony’s second performance Tuesday, the upper balcony was open to the public for the first time since the symphony began offering the concerts to schools.
In its third year, the concert has grown to include 1,200 local students to hear live music for possibly the first time said the symphony’s music director of nine years, Donald Lovejoy.
“Part of the idea is to expose them to a live music performance that’s performed at a really high level with professional musicians,” Lovejoy said. “We do a little bit of explaining the instruments that are used in the performance, but it’s mostly an opportunity for them to hear it, because hearing recordings is one thing, but hearing live music is a completely different situation.”
The music comes from composer Rob Kapilow, who has taken the words straight from the books and set them to music, Lovejoy said. The music that’s chosen by Lovejoy, Hornseth said, often also introduces students to a variety of instruments during a time when they are poised to make a decision about learning an instruments.
The concert then features certain symphony players that match the repertoire and actors to accompany them on stage, creating a child-like opera, Lovejoy said.
“It’s like a…