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Elementary students learning the strings of orchestra instruments and music

By RUBI REYES
May 11, 2009 at 12:11 a.m.
Updated May 14, 2009 at 12:14 a.m.

From right,  Claire Wang 9, Daniel Iles 10, and Daniel Shay 10, play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star during a recent session at Victoria College.

ELEMENTARY ORCHESTRA

The Victoria school district Elementary Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, June 1, at the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium.

The orchestra is under the instruction of Cathy Murdock, Juan Linn Magnet School teacher, Victoria Symphony Orchestra members Dana Smith, Nancy Bandy, Jerry Snyder, Debbie Durham, VSO education coordinator and local music teacher Enny Velasquez.

Most string instruments are sized for the students.

Many of the instruments in use were in VISD inventory.

Some new instruments were purchased.

If any community members have gently used instruments and would like to donate them to the program, they may contact Jay Lester, Victoria fine arts director, at 361-788-9335.

The program will continue for the 2009-10 school year Murdock said.

The program will be open to fourth and fifth graders. The current students will be placed in the intermediate group.

Cade Garcia sat at the edge of his seat as he held the violin between his shoulder and chin.

He focused on keeping his fingers on each sting and moving the bow ever so gently.

The Juan Linn Magnet School fourth grader was accompanied by more than 20 students who were learning to play the violin.

"I like learning the songs and what each string is," Cade said.

The Victoria school district Elementary Orchestra Program began in January. Cade and fourth graders across the district were told of the program in the fall, Jay Lester, director of fine arts, said.

"We have an exceptional band program that is a consistent champion," Lester said. "This is an ideal time to expand musical opportunities to include orchestra."

Cade, who loves all kinds of music, decided to venture out to the violin because of his love for guitar, his mother Diane Garcia said.

"He brought home the flyer and said he would like to try out the program," she said.

Students were able to chose between the cello and violin, Cathy Murdock, Juan Linn music teacher said.

"He's learned quite a bit since starting the program, but now he's curious about the cello," Garcia said.

Cade and the other students sat at the edge of their seats as Murdock led them through the music.

"Ta-ti-ti-ta," Murdock said. "Come on kids follow me, ta-ti-ti-ta."

The students followed along saying the rhythm and tapping the back of their bows on the music stand.

"Ouch it kind of hurts," Cade said about pressing his fingers against the strings.

Even though the music can be challenging he said he enjoys learning the notes and beats.

"I've been to the symphony and I really liked the music," Cade said.

So far he has "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" down, next is a sort of hip-hop musical the students are working on.

"Our teacher is awesome," Cade said. "She makes the class fun."

Murdock is also his strings teacher at Juan Linn.

Students are dropped off and picked up at the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium by their parents.

"I hope he wants to continue, he's grades have really improved," Garcia said.

The program is set to continue for the 2009-10 school year Murdock said. Students grades four to five will be allowed to enroll in the program.

"This group will serve as the foundation of the program," Murdock said.

The new students will be in the beginner class, while the current students will continue as the intermediate group.

"I think I'll continue, I like it," Cade said.

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