Harbor View brings Copland to life

Anybody who doesn't know who Aaron Copland is should have been at Harbor View Elementary School on Friday.

Students from kindergarten to sixth grade at the Newport Beach campus paid tribute to the influential American composer through a performance that included song, dance, the spoken word and an instrumental selection, including kazoos.

"Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-a, Aaron Copland is our man today," the first-grade students sang.

Harbor View hosted its BRAVO! assembly to show its appreciation of Copland's music after spending the year learning about his work with Rob Slack, principal percussionist with the Pacific Symphony, through the Class Act program.

Class Act is a partnership between Costa Mesa-based Pacific Symphony and local schools like Harbor View that connects students with a professional musician for a year and introduces them to the works of different composers.

"Class Act elevates and provides depth and complexity that wouldn't usually be afforded in the school," said Principal Charlene Metoyer.

The students took lessons from Slack, attended a performance with Slack and other professional musicians, and will go on a field trip to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to hear the Pacific Symphony perform.

Harbor View has participated in Class Act for 15 years. Students have learned about composers like Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev and Mozart.

"I think it's really opening up the kids' eyes to the different artists and the different composers," said parent Chanda Gensen, who also teaches at an Anaheim school that had the Class Act program.

Sixth-grade student Annabeth Amarasuriya thought the program was going to be "rinky-dink" at first, but it turned out be the experience of a lifetime.

"Class Act has been a very big part of my Harbor View musical experience," she read aloud in her winning essay about what the program means to her. "Class Act taught me so much about famous musicians that I would never have learned on my own. The musicians and composers that the amazing people from the Pacific Symphony teach us about really helped me bloom in my musical career."


Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World