Friday, March 2, 2012

Winterfield kids demonstrate music's power

When budding string players from Winterfield Elementary in east Charlotte performed alongside the Charlotte Symphony last year, conductor Christopher Warren-Green put their efforts in perspective.

"This isn't just about the future of music, but -- dare I say it -- the future of humanity," Warren-Green told the audience. Warren-Green knew what he was talking about: He has worked in Brazil with a program that lets children who have few opportunities in life study music and play in an orchestra. He says it has changed lives.

Back in Charlotte, Winterfield's young musicians will perform again Tuesday at their school. Since 2007, when classroom teacher Courtney Hollenbeck launched the program on her own, the Charlotte Symphony has stepped in to help. Now, more than 60 students study violin, cello, flute, clarinet, trumpet and percussion.

Members of the orchestra teach, as does Rosemary Furniss (photo by Todd Sumlin), who's an accomplished violinist apart from being married to Warren-Green. eachers at Winterfield say that music has helped lift the students' attitude, attedance and grades.

Tuesday's concert is part of "Connecting Families Through Music," a program that's mainly aimed at Winterfield's students, parents and teachers. But others are welcome to come, too, and see what the children can do. The concert is free and starts at 6 p.m. at the school, 3100 Summerfield Place in east Charlotte.