Blue Ridge Orchestra to host free children’s concert | School News

Young students in Haywood County will get the chance to experience a live orchestra performance next month when the Blue Ridge Orchestra comes to town.

The orchestra, an all-volunteer ensemble based in Asheville, will host a free children’s concert for all fourth- and fifth-grade students in Haywood County Public Schools at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at Haywood Community College.

Ruth Hall, the orchestra’s president, is excited about bringing the performance to Haywood County and having the opportunity to open young minds to the power of music.

“Music, to me, it changes kids’ lives,” she said, adding that it changed hers. “When you give kids a focus, when you give them something that they can get passionate about … I think it’s a positive influence.”

Hall said that the orchestra’s director, Milton Crotts, developed a children’s concert series in Guam in the 1980s. Every fourth- and fifth-grade student would assemble every year for a free concert.

“This is where I got my original concept as to what children’s concerts should be — free and for every group,” said Hall.

Her passion is evident as she talks about exposing children to the musical arts, and believes that “every child should be exposed to the glory of a live symphony orchestra concert.”

“You have only to be there when young ears first encounter the symphonic sound to know that no child should be deprived of the opportunity,” she said.

“And who knows?” she added. “Maybe the next Mozart is sitting out there.”

The Blue Ridge Orchestra used to host concerts in Canton, but due to low turnout, couldn’t justify returning each year.

“What I’d really like … is to get enough support from this community that we get to come back again and again and establish a pattern of doing it,” said Hall.

The orchestra will provide…

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