Texas Border Business
McAllen – More than 1,300 PSJA ISD third graders joined a handful of neighboring school districts recently to watch a special performance by the Valley Symphony Orchestra.
What made this concert unique, however, was that it was completely interactive. During the concert, students not only got to listen to several musical pieces in full but were also able to learn about the music behind each piece during pauses and breaks by the conductor and musicians.
“I got to teach them before we came what they were going to experience, but it’s not the same as actually experiencing it,” said Zeferino Farias Elementary Music Teacher Jessica Alvarado. “So, I know that they were very excited, and I know they’re very happy right now.”
For Carmen Anaya Elementary student Sebastian Torres, having the opportunity to learn about what musical notes are, the different movements one can find in a symphony and listening to a special performance by Hungarian pianist Éva Polgár, made the entire experience one to remember.
“I’ve never been to a concert before, so this was a great chance of a lifetime,” Torres said. “The 3rd graders here today are so lucky, and so are all the schools and all the PSJA Family.”
The Valley Symphony Orchestra began its Education Concert series in 2000 and has since performed concerts for more than 130,000 school-aged children, according to its website.
Alvarado says she hopes that exposing young students to this kind of cultural enrichment will spark enthusiasm for fine arts.
“I’m hoping that they see this, and it becomes a passion for them,” she said. “That it’s something in the future they’ll want to pursue, at least in the fine arts section of their academics. Most of our kids don’t get to experience something like this, so I’m grateful for our district for bringing them over here to see it.”
PSJA ISD Fine Arts Director Jon Taylor, who also attended the concert, shared that experiencing events like this helps students put into perspective what they learn on paper.
“Events such as these reinforce what the students learn in the music classroom and also serve to connect the students to music from a variety of different cultures and historical periods,” Taylor said. “Plus, it’s also a lot of fun!”