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Orchestra in an assembly

Baton in hand, Ryan Youd, 8, led his orchestra of invisible violins, drums, French horns, flutes and clarinets with increasingly frenetic arm movements through an energetic piece of classical music.

With all the formality and prestige of Gustavo Dudamel after conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Stravisnky’s “Rite of Spring,” Ryan took his bow.

“When I was conducting, it was so fun,” he said. “I was listening to the music, and I was raising the baton; it went faster and faster.”

The Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s Lido Isle Committee took its Music Mobile to Paularino Elementary School in Costa Mesa on Thursday to teach the third-grade class about the symphony orchestra. The hands-on assembly engaged the students in a lesson on musical instrument families with samples of the sounds each instrument makes, a chance to see the instruments and even play a few.


The committee provides various music-education opportunities to K-12 students in Newport-Mesa Unified School District from workshops and lessons to tours and concert tickets, said Philharmonic Society member Ellie Yates, who led the Music Mobile lesson.

Principal Stacy de Boom-Howard said she hopes the students know “that music is not just rock ‘n’ roll and bands. There is a lot more to it that tells stories and has feeling.”

The assembly builds upon the music education the students have already received, she said.

At Paularino, music education begins in kindergarten, and students begin playing their first instrument, the recorder, in third grade. Starting in fourth grade, students can choose to learn the trumpet, violin or clarinet.


Knowing the third-graders would soon begin their first instrument, Yates brought recorders she collected from Peru, Italy, England, Turkey and China. The Chinese version, which emitted a reedy sound similar to an oboe, or a duck as one boy yelled out, was the most popular with students, garnering the most giggles.

Yates held up an instrument from each of the four families of a symphony orchestra (wood wind, string, brass and percussion), explained how they worked and played a recording of each one. Teachers also helped the students play the violin and cello, while students helped themselves to wood blocks, a drum, maracas and the glockenspiel.

“I thought the assembly was awesome,” Ryan said as he waited to play the violin. “The best part was right now — we get to play the instruments.”

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes