School & Family Concerts

Sapphire Woodwind Quintet offers these program themes that can be tailored for each audience:

Buzz, Bang and Whoosh: The Science of Sound
Musical Time Machine (kids)
Meet the Woodwind Quintet (kids)
Musical World Tour
Dancing Shoes
Nature Walks
Women Composers
Meet the Composer

The children’s concerts are fast-paced programs, alternating brief dialogue with short, engaging musical examples. The topics include instrument demonstrations and the components of music. Kids learn the names of instruments, different ways the sound is produced on each instrument, and the contrasting moods, textures & dynamics of music. Audience response is encouraged throughout the program to reinforce concepts, and a Question and Answer period is always included.

BUZZ, BANG AND WHOOSH: The Science of Sound

The Science of Sound (all ages) is a fun, interactive concert that explores the four main sources of sound – impact, friction, turbulence, and vibration. Lively musical selections include movie music, ragtime, and folk songs. The musicians demonstrate their own instruments alongside some lesser-known sound makers, such as the singing bowl, one-stringed bass, and guiro. With quick experiments, an on-screen spectrum analyzer, and engaging discussions throughout, this dynamic program is a multidisciplinary exploration of science and music. For older students , the concepts will be presented in more depth.

Musical World Tour features instruments and music from around the world, including African, Middle Eastern, Afro-Cuban, and South American pieces. The students get to see and hear unusual instruments, such as the Arabic nay flute, Caribbean conch shell trumpet, Tibetan singing bowl, and a 12-foot Swiss alphorn. Students learn about the styles, textures, and compositional techniques that make each kind of music distinct. Each piece on the program has a story to tell that illustrates a particular culture, and the music spans different centuries as well as continents. A geography lesson is incorporated into the multimedia program by locating each destination on a colorful map.

Musical Time Machine shows the amazing progression of musical composition over the span of 5 centuries. The program features music from the Renaissance (1500s), Baroque (1600s), Classical (1700s), Romantic (1800s) and Contemporary Periods. It also highlights other forms of music, including Ragtime, Folk Songs and movie music.

The Story of the Woodwind Quintet introduces younger audiences to the instruments in the woodwind quintet.  By using a storyline that personifies each instrument as a character in the story, the similarities and differences between the instruments are explored.

Dancing Shoes includes music based on dances from different cultures and centuries. Two compositions that were premiered by Sapphire are showcased: a Klezmer medley arranged by Edward Marcus and Dancing Shoes by Amy Riebs Mills.

Nature Walks features music that evokes natural scenery, such as rivers, woods, and cherry blossoms. These lyrical compositions range from the quiet beauty of moonlight to the excitement of rushing rapids.

American Program
Older audiences (12 and up)
This program relates prominent American composers to historical events. Included are pieces by established composers such as: William Grant Still (known as “The Dean” of African-American composers), Scott Joplin (known as the “King of Ragtime”), Samuel Barber (a Pulitzer Prize winner), and Vincent Persichetti (known for new musical ideas and teaching). Also included are wonderful and accessible pieces by living composers, such as: Paquito D’Rivera (listen here), Edward Marcus (listen here), Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda (listen here), Francine Trester (listen here), and Amy Mills (listen here).

Women Composers
Older audiences (12 and up)

Sapphire Woodwind Quintet is dedicated to featuring music by women composers. Their concert program, More than Muses: Female Composers Throughout History, explores the often overlooked and unappreciated world of female composers from the 9th Century until today. This multimedia presentation offers beautiful music, colorful slides, detailed program notes and a spoken introduction to each piece, which provide historical information  to help understand the obstacles these women faced and how they overcame them to earn their place in history. Some special features of this program are several original arrangements by the quintet members, and music written by living composers.

Sapphire Quintet’s repertoire includes works by living composers, such as Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda (listen here), Francine Trester (learn more here),  Amy Riebs Mills (learn more here), and Valerie Coleman.

Meet the Composer is a very special program in collaboration with our resident composer, Edward Marcus, that allows students to meet a living composer and hear him talk about his music. Ed will discuss how he composes music, using the quintet to demonstrate different techniques, and then the quintet will play the pieces used for demonstration, some of which were written especially for Sapphire. The students will also have the opportunity to ask him questions. More information about the composer can be found on his website (click here for website).