Students join Phoenix Symphony - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

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Students join Phoenix Symphony

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Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:00 pm

A group of Kyrene musicians had an opportunity this weekend to play with the Phoenix Symphony.

Six students from Altadeña Middle School performed Pied Piper Fantasy with the symphony from Thursday to Sunday. Bergen Watterson, Ashley Mains, Katelyn Miyasaki and Mariana Murphy performed as flute players while James Chavez and Luke Mains played drums.

The Pied Piper Fantasy was part of a larger performance with Symphonie fantastique. The students were led by lead flutist Viviana Cumplido.

Conductor and Music Director Michael Christie said he hoped the opportunity provided inspiration to the aspiring artists.

"At that age, such an experience could help them down the line when they are thinking about career choices," Christie said. "It is something totally unique for a young person to join a professional symphony."

The local middle school students echoed the conductor's comments and said they enjoyed the thrill of the performance.

"I was a little nervous at first," eighth-grade student James Chavez said. "I think it would be pretty fun to do it as a job."

The students began as audience members before being called up, with their instruments in tow, to join the other musicians on stage. The students had just a single night to rehearse their performance.

"It was a simple melody, but it was hard to memorize," eighth-grader Katelyn Miyasaki said. "And they told us the day before that there wasn't going to be any stands on stage."

Nonetheless, the students learned the music to the delight of the conductor.

"They figured out how they were going to walk through the auditorium and I give them a lot of credit on being prepared and flexible," Christie said. "I'm thrilled we get to do it and they get to participate."

The Phoenix Symphony reaches out to local schools throughout the year, offering band directors the opportunity to have their students participate.

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