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DHS ‘Red Velvet Violin’ concert features music, puppets and storytelling

DHS Symphony2w

From left, Kim Davis, Beth Beam and Chris Carlson bring their marionettes to life as Anna Moreno reads "The Red Velvet Violin" during a rehearsal on Sunday. The group will perform, along with the Davis High Symphony Orchestra, at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

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From page A9 | February 12, 2014 |

Check it out

What: Davis High School Symphony premiering “The Red Velvet Violin”

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High School, 315 W. 14th St.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $7 for children, available at Watermelon Music, 207 E St., or the box office

The Davis High School Symphony’s annual Outreach Concert has become a popular family tradition — a one-hour, kid-friendly show with orchestral music, puppets and storytelling.

This year’s concert will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Brunelle Performance Hall at DHS, 315 W. 14th St.

And the program will feature the premiere of an original work — “The Red Velvet Violin,” with music composed by Ryan Suleiman, and direction by Art Gruenberger of the Puppet Art Theater Company. Kristen Phillips-Gray designed and created the accompanying puppets.

The family nature of the event will be evident on stage as well. Davis High conductor Angelo Moreno will lead the orchestra, while Anna Moreno, his mother, will narrate from a story that she wrote.

“The story of ‘The Red Velvet Violin’ began many years ago in the Napa Valley,” Angelo Moreno told The Enterprise. “As a young boy in elementary school, I studied violin … and my parents always taught me that my musical talent was a wonderful gift that should never be used for selfish reasons.

“My mother was a fourth-grade teacher for 25 years, and she was known for capturing the attention of hundreds of kids with her storytelling and charisma,” he added. “She was known to pack the public library on Saturday mornings with kids who came to sit and listen to her captivating tales.”

And young Angelo would bring his violin to provide musical accompaniment for his mother’s stories. “Now, some 30 years later, we are performing partners again.”

The Outreach Concert is meant to raise awareness about the music and arts program for future musicians who are currently at elementary and junior high school level. The music tends toward the light-hearted side, and can be enjoyed by any audience member, regardless of age or music taste.

For many, this concert acts as the perfect segue for kids vaguely interested in music to enter that excited stage that will propel them into a school music program. Junior Ellen Finn lists the outreach concert as one of the ways she got hooked into the Davis Schools Orchestral Music Association. It was a new and thrilling type of music for her child self, and she has stuck with it ever since.

“This event should show younger kids how cool playing an instrument can be and make them interested in playing the instruments themselves,” Finn said. “This way we can spread music to younger generations and possibly get them to join the great music program we have here at Davis High School.”

Junior Robin Chang looks forward to this concert due to its distinctive music played, which greatly differs from her past concerts.

“This piece was really fun to learn and I’m excited to share it with the kids as an orchestra,” Chang said. “It was especially written and composed for us which makes it unique.”

In addition to Saturday’s public performance, there are also four weekday performances attended by Davis elementary schoolchildren — those concerts draw about 2,000 children in all. Moreno said the concerts are made possible by a grant from Tandem Properties, support from the Chang Family Trust and the Davis Schools Orchestral Music Association.

The Saturday, Feb. 15, performance at 1 p.m. costs $10 for adults and $7 for children. Tickets are on sale at Watermelon Music, 207 E St., or at the Brunelle Hall box office. Donations also will be taken at the door.

— Enterprise staff writer Jeff Hudson contributed to this story.

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