The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 26, 2013

Symphony performs free concerts for students

JOHNSTOWN — Yellow school buses were lined up outside Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township on Tuesday morning, delivering fifth-graders from various school districts to a free Young People’s Concert performed by Johnstown Symphony Orchestra.

Inside the arts center, the noise level grew and seats filled to a full house as students prepared to hear the symphony orchestra, many for the first time.

“It’s an absolute delight we can reach so many schools,” said the symphony’s conductor, Maestro Istvan Jaray. “This is an important event in the life of the orchestra. I wish we could do it more.

“Arts enhance the spirit of young people. To deprive them of it is sad, so I think we should jump in and do it.”

The concert began with a rousing rendition of the “William Tell Overture,” which Jaray told his young audience was their way of saying hello.

“I’m having fun,” Jaray said. “I love to give children my joy with music. This is an opportunity to present the orchestra in a new light with no preconceived ideas.”

“It’s not dull, long-haired music. It shows the colors of the symphony. They need to realize it’s not something to dread, but to enjoy.”

Next came “The Thrill of the Orchestra,” narrated in rhyme by arts center executive director Michael Bodolosky.

The piece explained each section and instrument of the orchestra and how the conductor brought them all together.

As each instrument was mentioned, symphony members showed the youngsters where they were located and how their instruments simply could make noise or more magical music with practice.

Bodolosky went through the percussion, brass, woodwind and string sections, then had each section play its part in a song until the entire orchestra was playing.

His narration urged his audience to feel the thrill of music through the color of the orchestra.

“Why play in an orchestra? For the thrill music can provide. It can give you warmth, a chill or take you for a ride.”

Jaray then explained how music written without words is usually called a symphony and led the orchestra in a fast dance by the French composer Bizet.

A newer composition by a woman composer was next, and Jaray told his audience he hoped that if they composed something they would send it to him.

Another dance, “Hoedown,” came from American composer Aaron Copeland, and the composition “Waltzing Cat” showed the audience how a composer can describe felines and dogs in musical terms.

It was time for audience participation when the song “Pop Goes the Weasel” came up.

Jaray requested the youngsters shout “Pop Goes the Weasel” when he pointed to them, then asked if anyone would like to conduct the orchestra for that song.

Hands eagerly raised and waved, but Jaray announced he had one name written on a piece of paper.

Maeve Milligan of Westmont was asked to come forward and lead the orchestra.

After a brief demonstration on keeping time from Jaray, Maeve was conducting and the audience was shouting when Jaray pointed to them.

Jaray thought of the idea several years ago and thought it would be fun for the children.

“It’s good for them to see one of their own on stage,” Jaray said. “It’s a lifetime experience. This is a break for them. We try to make it as palatable as possible and keep the pieces short.”

For her efforts, Maeve received a conductor’s kit, which included a baton.

After the concert, Maeve said she had no idea she would be chosen to conduct.

“When I heard my name, I thought ‘What? What’s happening?’ I was very nervous,” Maeve said. “I never thought of conducting until now.”

Maeve started playing violin in third grade, flute in fifth and baritone horn in sixth and performs with her school’s orchestra and band.

“I loved it when they explained the instruments,” she said.

“I got to hear each one. I was at a Christmas concert, but this was my first time at this concert. It was most enjoyable.”

The concert ended with a “Star Wars Medley,” eliciting some light saber action from the audience.

As students filed out to their buses according to school district, volunteers prepared to do it all over again for a second concert.

“We had 10 schools for this concert and will have 10 more for the next one,” said Doris Lapinski, administrative assistant for the symphony. “They’re all fifth-graders except for Westmont, which is sixth. Because of funding cuts, they couldn’t come last year, so we had those who would have been in fifth grade last year. They are the exception.”

 

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads