VSO trio performs in Fletcher

Members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra perform for students at Fletcher Elementary School. The brass trio, Fanfare, tours the state teaching students about instruments and music.

On Monday, November 4, Fanfare, the Brass Trio of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, performed before a school-wide audience and several community members at Fletcher Elementary School.

For over three decades, Fanfare has toured the state, performing in town halls and other local settings. Through their annual school performances, they introduce hundreds of elementary school students to brass instruments each year. Current trio members include Glendon Ingalls on trumpet, Ron Wold on horn and Bear Irwin on trombone.

“It was a great concert,” first grader Mateo GraffBell said. “They played songs and then taught us stuff and then played more songs and then taught us again.”

Fanfare’s performance included a variety of musical styles plus demonstrations of how the instruments produce their sounds and how each one has changed over time.

Fanfare at Fletcher Elementary

Fletcher Elementary school students learn about the composition of brass instruments from a member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra using a length of garden hose and a funnel.

“My favorite part was when they used a long garden hose and a funnel to show us exactly how brass instruments work,” GraffBell said. “Those instruments would be very long if you unwound them like the hose.”

In addition, audience members had an opportunity to ask questions of the performers. The program used a unique blend of old and new music, serious and popular, to produce a lively and informative concert.

The performance was part of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s SymphonyKids education program, which reached over 18,750 school children last year with 262 presentations in 131 Vermont schools. It was made possible and cost-free by a grant from the George W. Mergens Foundation.

Watching Fanfare in Fletcher

Fletcher Elementary School third grader Zachary Robertson-Ryan listens to a member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra demonstrate how the length of tubing in brass instruments effects the sound. The demonstration included a garden hose and a funnel.

“Part of our obligation as teachers includes helping students realize opportunities for lifelong learning beyond the school walls,” third and fourth grade teacher Tracey Godin said. “The great thing about having the trio here was that our students can begin to learn an instrument and play in the school band now, as elementary school students, and potentially continue that experience beyond Fletcher in middle and high school and into their adult lives.”

“I never even knew that you could have your job be playing an instrument as a professional,” fourth grader Faye Hood said. “Or that playing an instrument involves so much math. They have to practice and study a lot to get this good but it pays off because they get to travel around and share everything they know with other people.”

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