On Wednesday, April 17, at 1:00 p.m. in the Helena Civic Center, the Helena Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual youth concert for over 1,800 fourth and fifth grade students from twenty-three elementary schools coming from over ten school districts and nine towns.  In addition to the eleven elementary schools from the Helena School District, students from St. Andrew School, Radley Elementary School in East Helena, Cottonwood School, First Lutheran, Boulder, Canyon Creek, Clancy, Townsend, and the Helena Area Christian Home Educators will be attending this concert for fourth and fifth graders.

In addition to the generous support from all the attending schools, the Symphony is grateful for the generous support from the Helena School District, the Helena Music Teachers Association, Rocky Mountain Credit Union, Vocal Credit Union, the Alpha Chapter of  Delta Kappa Gamma, and Montana Credit Union Network.  “For many students, this will be their first opportunity to experience a live performance of classical music,” explains Director of Patron Services Scott Kall.

Students attending will experience the orchestra through an orchestral courtroom comedy for young audiences based on the characters, events, and music of the symphonic fairy tale Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.  Based on the well-known story, this new twist begins immediately after the Wolf eats the Duck.  Set in a court room, the Wolf is on trail, and complete with several professional actors, the story of Peter vs. The Wolf recounts the famous story while introducing the elements of music and the orchestra to the students.  Helena actors Mēghan Scott, Jay Bahny, and Abby Nyhof, will appear as the three principal actors as the District Attorney, the Judge, and the Wolf respectively, and Tanner Davis, a sixth grader at CR Anderson Middle School, as the title role of Peter.

“From actors, costumes, lighting, and the orchestra musicians, this is a wonderfully educational, fun, and entertaining concert for students and we are thrilled to continue the Symphony’s educational efforts,” explains Music Director Allan R. Scott.

The annual Youth Concert is completely focused on the music education of nearly 2,000 fourth and fifth graders from several school districts, including school districts in rural communities with hundreds of underserved children.  “The focus of this project serves not only the music education of the students in several communities, but the project provides the much-needed life lessons through the arts, self-expression, and how arts and education are intrinsically linked,” explains Symphony Education Coordinator Barb Berg.  “The programs are designed specifically for the music education of fourth and fifth graders.  The Youth Concert also seeks to make a lasting impact on the fourth and fifth grade students before they enter middle school where they hopefully will participate in orchestra, band, or chorus, and in many ways, this concert is one of the last experiences the fourth and fifth graders will have before deciding to take up an instrument.”

“The evidence is clear,” explains Maestro Scott, “in that a child who plays an instrument is not merely a well-rounded individual, but a person that learns self-confidence, self-expression, and embraces a value system which understands the importance of music and the arts as they progress through life.  With the help of so many generous organizations, schools, and individuals, the Helena Symphony can ensure we continue to help raise the children in our community.  This is so much more than a concert.”

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