Symphony to focus on children in concert series

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The Peoria Symphony Orchestra wants to help children discover the wonder and beauty of music in a series of concerts for families, starting Oct. 20.

Musical Discovery concerts are designed for children 5 to 10 years old and will be in at the Symphony's new performance studio in the WTVP building, 101 State St., and in the WTVP Studio, the Symphony said in a news release.

The program will be hosted by Maestro George Stelluto, music director and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra. He said the program will enable children and their families to explore the instruments used by the orchestra through narration and demonstration. It also will include a hands-on Instrument Petting Zoo.

"I am excited we are offering this series so families have the opportunity to spend time together learning about music," Stelluto said.

The first of the three Musical Discovery concerts will be the "Perky Percussion" on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. "Perky Percussion" will feature Peggy Bonner, Peoria Symphony principal percussionist, and members of the PSO percussion section who will demonstrate a wide variety of instruments from the percussion family.

The program will include a visit to the "Instrument Petting Zoo," where audience members can touch and try out the instruments they saw demonstrated.

This and other concerts in the series will be taped for future broadcast on WTVP, said PSO Executive Director Susan Hoffman. "The audience will actually be part of the show. This series is the next piece in our efforts for the PSO to have music education opportunities that reach all ages, from the very young through adults," she said.

The remaining Musical Discovery concerts will be Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, titled "The Triumphant Trumpet", and Sunday, March 23, 2014 with the "Chillin' Cello".

Tickets for the concerts are $5 for children and $10 for adults and may be purchased by calling (309) 671-1096 or by visiting the PSO box office at 101 State Street in Peoria.

The Musical Discovery series is collaboration between the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and WTVP and is underwritten by a generous gift from Flo and Sid Banwart. The collaboration with WTVP and the Banwarts also includes recording a series of concerts for adults entitled "Sound Bites."

This series will give the PSO musicians an opportunity to collaborate with special guest artists and fellow musicians and present concerts in an intimate casual setting.

The Musical Discovery concerts and the Sound Bites concerts will both be recorded for future broadcast on WTVP.

"This project gives us the opportunity to extend the cultural impact and presence of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra beyond our concerts on the stage. By collaborating with WTVP and recording these concerts for future broadcast we will be reaching many people who may not have the ability or opportunity to attend PSO concerts." said Hoffman.