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Childrens Concerts

Nearly 1500 fourth and fifth graders were treated to series of concerts by the Pierce College Symphonic Band, under the direction of Pierce College Professor Emeritus Stephen Piazza. The children filled the theater of the college’s Performing Arts Building for four concerts on January 22 and 23.

The 60-piece Symphonic Band, with the assistance of a $68,000 grant from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, put together the entertaining and educational Children’s Concert Series to reach out to the community and expose the children to the instruments and sounds of wind orchestral music.

Conductor Piazza started each concert by introducing the children to the instruments, first naming and giving a demonstration of the brass family -- trombone, trumpet, horn, euphonium and tuba -- and then the woodwinds family -- piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets, saxophones, and bassoon.

Children called out the names of the instruments and later made musical sounds and noises associated with them on cue under the direction of Piazza. Budding “conductors” were invited up to lead the band on closing numbers. Thirteen schools, both public and private, participated in the series, enjoying original arrangements of a Disney celebration, Fiesta music, and patriotic numbers including Liberty Bell, When the Saints Come Marching In and Stars and Stripes Forever. Included were a variety of musical pieces from Sousa marches to traditional symphonic band repertoire to original pieces composed by the members of the Pierce College Symphonic Band.

The schools are Fullbright Elementary, Serrania Avenue Elementary, Ivy Academia, Sherman Oaks Elementary, West Valley Special Education, St. Bernadine’s, Our Lady of the Valley, Viewpoint, Stephen S. Wise, Newcastle Elementary, Van Nuys Elementary, Dixie Canyon Elementary, and Coldwater Canyon Elementary. This introduction to music will supplement the state standards for music in their grade level curriculum. Following the concert, the children were able to meet the members of the band, see the instruments up close, and ask questions about music, careers in music, and the backgrounds of the musicians.