Local News

May 29, 2013

Musicians share chamber music with fourth-graders


Oskaloosa fourth-graders enjoyed music ranging from Mozart to "Indiana Jones" Thursday afternoon with five professional chamber musicians who visited them at school.

Oskaloosa native Ben Davis and four of his college friends performed at the school as part of the Oskaloosa Chamber Music Festival which included classroom time with students as well as performances at Smokey Row Friday night and the First Presbyterian Church Saturday night.

The five musicians — two violinists, one viola, one bass and one cello — performed for the entire fourth-grade class, about 200 students — at the Oskaloosa Elementary School. Davis said the group also performed at the Oskaloosa Middle School on Wednesday.

Davis plays the viola and began his music career with the instrument under the tutelage of Bruce and Denise McLellan. Davis has been playing since the fourth grade, and besides the viola, he also played the trumpet and guitar in school. After graduating from college, Davis performs, teaches and works at a violin shop.

The chamber musicians opened with the "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" and then discussed the features of their instruments with the fourth-graders.

Sam Rudy and Erika Blanco both play the violin.

The violin has four stings and has a "high, rich sound," Rudy said.

Blanco said violinists can get different textures of sounds with their instrument. "You also can play more than one note at a time — very cool," she said.

Davis and Blanco compared their instruments for the students.

"We share a lot of similar strings," he said of the violin and viola. Davis said that the viola is a like an alto, "the low female voice."

"I share all four of my strings with Ben," Eric Graf said of his cello in comparison to the viola.

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