Beethoven’s New Groove

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On a frigid St. Louis morning, schoolchildren from around the region came into Powell Hall to get warm and learn about rhythm at the “Beethoven’s New Groove” concert.

Schoolchildren enter Powell Hall and provide the "look up" photo op on a cold February morning.
Schoolchildren enter Powell Hall and provide the “look up” photo op on a cold February morning.

Guest conductor Rei Hotoda gave an example of a two-beat rhythm–a Sousa march–and got the audience involved. Everyone marched in place, one-two-one-two.

Rei Hotoda demonstrates a march rhythm.
Rei Hotoda demonstrates a march rhythm.

The schoolchildren learned that with a few changes in the beat, an accent on the 2 and the 4 or the use of syncopation, Beethoven can sound like rock or hip hop or Latin music. I heard one teacher or chaperon say, “I think I just walked into a salsa concert.”

When the show was over, the audience rewarded the orchestra with the rhythm of applause.

Standing O
Standing O

More than 15,000 schoolchildren will be coming to Powell Hall for Education Concerts this week and the last week in February, with “Tales of Shakespeare” on Tuesday, February 23, and Wednesday, February 24. “Beethoven’s New Groove” is offered as a Family Concert Sunday, April 17, 3:00pm.

Zoo Meets Orchestra

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The St. Louis Symphony completed its first series of Education Concerts of the 1415 season on Wednesday, with a great assist from the Saint Louis Zoo, as well as from Rimsky-Korsakov (Flight of the Bumblebee), Saint-Saens (Carnival of the Animals), Copland (Hoe Down) and Henry Mancini (Baby Elephant Walk). Here’s how it looked.

The Saint Louis Zoo's Rachel Killeen (left) and Kelly Kapsar get ready for the show.
The Saint Louis Zoo’s Rachel Killeen (left) and Kelly Kapsar get ready for the show.
The Saint Louis Zoo's Maggie McCoy, who served as guest host, and the Symphony's Director of Education Berakiah Boone in the Green Room
The Saint Louis Zoo’s Maggie McCoy, who served as guest host, and the Symphony’s Director of Education Berakiah Boone in the Green Room.
Maggie was prepared to catch bees and butterflies on stage.
Maggie was prepared to catch bees and butterflies on stage.
The Saint Louis Zoo provided very cool videos of animals to accompany the orchestra. Elephants!
The Saint Louis Zoo provided very cool videos of animals to accompany the orchestra. Elephants!
Rachel brought an elephant bone.
Rachel brought an elephant bone.
Principal Cello Daniel Lee plays "The Swan" while a swan glides across the screen.
Principal Cello Daniel Lee plays “The Swan” while a swan glides across the screen.
Resident Conductor Steven Jarvi expresses his fear of bees.
Resident Conductor Steven Jarvi expresses his fear of bees.

The St. Louis Symphony thanks its partner the Saint Louis Zoo, as well as presenting sponsor Booksource, for helping to make it all happen. And thank you to the schools, teachers, chaperones and schoolchildren. Come again!