Photographer: Bob Tymczyszyn for the Standard
Date:April 26, 2004
Article printed in the St. Catharines Standard
Transcript of article
And a child shall lead them…
Mackenzie Boyes, 9, conducts symphony as it performs piece students helped write
By Grant LaFleche, Standard Staff
For the first time in her life, everyone had to do what nine-year-old Mackenzie Boyes told them to do.
“I am the youngest in my family, and no one ever does what I want to do, so this is great,” the Grade 4 Gracefield School students said Sunday afternoon, an hour before conducting 68 members of the Niagara Symphony at Brock University.
Mackenzie led the symphony and a gaggle of her classmates through the Hogwarts Symphony, a piece co-written by Gracefield students as part of the Composer in the Classroom program.
Students from the Port Dalhousie school, guided by Richmond Hill-based composer Sasha Weinstangel, created the foundation for the composition over five days in April.
Given several possible themes to focus on, the students chose Harry Potter, Weinstangel said.
“Just like working on a story or poems, they had to select sounds that reminded them of Harry Potter,” he said. “Basically, they had to try and sum up Harry Potter in three minutes flat.”
Using mostly percussion instruments, the students tried to create sounds that reflected the common elements of Harry Potter stories, such as the train ride to and from school and a Quidditch match, the fictional ballgame featured in the books.
Weinstangel then took the sounds the students had made and wrote a short musical piece around them.
Musicians from the Niagara Symphony also came to Gracefield School to work with the students.
The program is an excellent way to introduce young students to the nuts and bolts of music, Weinstangel said.
Of the five Niagara schools that took part in the Composer in the Classroom program, only Gracefield students were selected to perform their piece during a Niagara Symphony concert Sunday night.
About 40 students from the school joined the symphony on stage to follow Mackenzie’s instruction.