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Going for Baroque

Musicians share Bach with students

By Angie Landsverk

Students were given a taste of classical music during a Monday, Sept. 25 program, at Waupaca Middle School.

The Madison Bach Musicians presented the program to the school’s fifth-grade class.

“You are exactly the age I was when I started piano,” Trevor Stephenson told the students.

He founded the nonprofit organization in 2004 and is its director.

The Madison Bach Musicians is dedicated to presenting the work of Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as the work of other composers of the Baroque, Renaissance and Classical periods.

It performs and presents lectures and workshops.

The program for the students was a mixture of performances and education.

It included the music of Bach and Antonio Lucio Vivaldi.

The group presented it at the middle school prior to its Monday evening Winchester Academy program, at First United Methodist Church.

The Winchester program served as the kickoff event for this year’s Bach Festival, which includes a week of music and activities.

Stephenson told the students Bach’s music was mathematical and expressive at the same time.

He encouraged the students to see if they could hear the different parts and instruments.

Stephenson played the harpsichord and was joined by seven other instrumentalists on cellos, viola and violins.

He explained to the students how Bach improvised when he performed at services and chamber concerts and then went home and wrote it all down.

Kangwon Lee Kim, the group’s concertmaster, is a violinist.

She told the students she first played the piano.

Kim recalled how a girl, who lived across the street from her, played the violin.

“I just was fascinated,” she said.

Kim began playing the violin when she was in third grade and then started playing Baroque violins when she was in college.

Some members of the group live in the Madison area, while others come from different areas to play with it.

“We assembled as a group last week,” Stephenson said after being asked about their rehearsal schedule.

He said, “Everyone knows their part and has played this kind of music together.”

That means members practice on their own before getting together as a group to rehearse.

The fifth graders are currently studying instruments in music class.

Nancy Grams, their teacher, asked the members of the Madison Bach Musicians to show the difference in size among their instruments.

Laurel Leder is the sixth through eight-grade choir director at the middle school.

She also listened to the program.

“I just think it’s amazing we have this in Waupaca, that kids can get this experience.”

Shana Rogney, a band instructor at the middle school, said the students do not often hear different styles of music.

“They did a great job,” she said of the Madison Bach Musicians. “I just think it’s a great experience to hear classical, Baroque music.”

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