A Bach Sonata With Knights And Dragons, Oh My

Roy Ziegler

Photos by Gordon Nieburg

Concordia’s Musical “Informances” Stimulate Children’s Imagination While Introducing the Classics


“A cello is like a big buddy!” exclaims Michelle Djokic as she greets the Monday morning class of the third grade at Buckingham Friends School. Djokic, artistic director of the Concordia Chamber Players, takes her cello to three elementary schools before each Concordia concert. Most of this class of nine-year olds had never seen a cello up close and personal before. They listened wide-eyed as Djokic played a portion of Bach’s Third Sonata for cello at 9 o’clock on a cold autumn morning. She challenged them to imagine what kind of picture the music was portraying. And imagine they did. “I saw a knight fighting a dragon when you played that.” said one boy. A classmate next to him imagined sailing in a boat, and yet another student saw birds, a barn on a hillside and colorful trees as the sonata’s tones filled music teacher, Maria DeVore’s, classroom.


Djokic continued, “Music says so much without using any words and people use their imagination to express their thoughts and feelings. That’s what music is all about.” To her surprise, Djokic discovered that two of the members of this third grade class had already begun playing instruments. One girl plays a cello and another the violin. And she was astonished again when another classmate was able to pinpoint when Johann Sebastian Bach composed his wonderful music. The rest of the class had just experienced their first live introduction to classical music through an “informance” which is an informal introduction to music through conversation, performance and interaction. “This is such a welcome addition to our music curriculum, ” said DeVore. “We are so pleased that Concordia has included our school in their informance schedule this year.”


Following a work by Benjamin Britten, Djokic discussed pizzicato and demonstrated how counterpoint is merely is a musical conversation.


As the class concluded students were invited to attend the Concordia Chamber Players opening concert free, and many of them seemed eager to attend. The orchestra opens its sixth season in New Hope on Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 3 PM in the Stephen Buck Theater at the New Hope-Solebury High School, 180 West Bridge Street in New Hope. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door or by calling 215-297-5972. The concert will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of the Fugue, Johannes Brahms’ s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and Jean Francaix’s String Trio. Children are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Free parking is provided directly outside the concert hall, and refreshments are served. Information about Concordia’s informances and concerts is available at www.concordiaplayers.org.

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