More than a year of lockdown has done some odd things to the musicians of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.
A charming online children’s series is showing sides of them we’ve never seen.
Even series host Ashleigh Lore, an enthusiastic elementary school music teacher, was taken aback by the wild glint in Florina Georgia Petrescu’s eyes.
Between sharp snippets of Vivaldi and Bach, the Romanian-born violinist does spot-on imitations of a mosquito, a mooing cow, a creaky door and a motorcycle. She brandishes a broom and gleefully tells Lore she comes from Transylvania (really).
“I knew she was very kind, very sweet, but I never saw her playful side before,” Lore said.
The first entry in the second LSO Kids series, available online; cuts instantly (and hilariously) from Lore’s gentle smile to a deafening snare drum roll by principal percussionist Matthew Beck. He whacks away as if he’s been stuck in his basement, with too many things to hit, and is grateful to have someone to talk to.
“The percussion family has hundreds of instruments!” he exults. “HUNDREDS!”
The popular series is attracting a new audience from around the country, and the world, in part because it shows a playful, off-kilter side of the musicians you’d never get to see otherwise. Music teachers use the series to pique their students’ interest in playing music.
The guest artists explain in simple terms how instruments are made, how they produce noise and what it’s like to be a part of an orchestra.
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