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Music and learning: a classical summer

Andrew Harley

Bravo! is not merely a summer-long classical music festival, the entity also strives to provide an ample amount of musically oriented education programs.

The programs are the Introduction to Chamber Music Series, Performance Preludes, Afterthoughts, Live at the Library and the Instrument Petting Zoo.

“Part of Bravo!’s goals and purposes is to educate the community, not just the children in the community, but the adults,” said Director of Marketing and Public Relations Liana Carlson. “So we have several education programs to reach those goals. And most of those are very fun programs.

The first program is specifically oriented for children. The Instrument Petting Zoo is a traveling, interactive exhibit of instruments.

“It’s a chance for these children to try their hand at different instruments that they may not have even known existed,” said Carlson.

The Instrument Petting Zoo sets up shop at many locales around the Vail Valley, including at a couple of the farmers’ markets, the Avon Arts Fair and makes a special stop at the Vail Library for the Summer Library Festival on Monday, July 12. However, the demonstration surrounded by the most hoopla happens July 15 at the Bravo! Family Concert from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

“Every imaginable instrument will be out there for kids to try their hand at,” said Carlson. “It’s a really fun exhibit. Its goal is to give kids a fun experience and introduce them to something they may not have known about before. It’s a great asset to have these set up at farmers’ markets for kids who pass by. While their parents shop, they can be trying out the violin or banging on some drums.”

The Performance Preludes are pre-concert talks that precede three of the season’s orchestral concerts. The Performance Preludes are geared toward adults and will be held at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens at 5 p.m. Each talk lasts approximately half an hour.

“It’s an opportunity to educate yourself on the music a little bit before you go into it. And it will give people some things to maybe think about,” said Carlson.

So, Performance Preludes act as an exciting and more interactive version of program notes ” program will still be included.

“This is a fun way to experience the concert, and experience it to a greater depth. This is the first time we’ve done this program,” said Carlson.

There are three Performance Preludes, one for each of the three orchestras. The first one is Wednesday, June 30, and there will be opportunity for questions. The first classical music professional speaker is Betsy Schwarm, producer of Classical Colorado for KCME ” a classical music public radio station in Colorado Springs.

“So these people are all used to talking about classical music and making it fun,” said Carlson.

The second Prelude features Jeanna Wearing, general manager of KCME, who will be speaking before a Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday, July 17.

Professor of Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder Dr. Steven Bruns will host a Prelude on Thursday, July 29.

“Each night these speakers will be speaking about the music that night and the composers, and they’ll give interesting facts,” said Carlson.

There’s no cost or RSVP required for the Performance Preludes.

Afterthoughts happens after chamber music performances at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek. Pre-concert receptions include wine and cheese in the May Gallery, and the cost is $5 at the door.

“It’s a fun, interactive party,” said Carlson. “There’s trivia. We hand out trivia questionnaires, and people try to answer the trivia, and then they turn in their sheets and win prizes.”

Prizes are handed out during the Afterthoughts after the concert. Performances happen at 6 p.m., and after the concert, the musicians return to the stage with Bravo! Artistic Director Eugenia Zuckerman. Everyone from the audience is invited to stick around for some dialogue.

“One of the questions that always comes up is that all of these musicians aren’t always playing together. Before they perform, they may have only one opportunity to play this music together before they go out on stage to play,” said Carlson. “The orchestras perform together all the time, but chamber music has a little bit more of a challenge.”

The Introduction to Chamber Music Concert Series is a group of three interactive concerts held at Eagle Ranch Pavilion and the Lodge at Cordillera.

“They’re very informal concerts. It’s not full pieces of music,” said Carlson. “They’ll play a movement or part of a movement, and then they’ll stop and talk about it and the audience asks questions.”

Live at the Library brings some of the world-class musicians from Bravo! to meet children alongside the valley’s summer reading programs ” Avon Library, Vail Library, Minturn Library, Eagle Library and Gypsum Library. The musicians play for the children and teach them about the music and composers, and then the kids are given access to the Instrument Petting Zoo.


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