Gail Fellows-DeGrace is the School Literacy Teacher and School Music Specialist at Donald Fraser Memorial School in Plaster Rock, NB. She invited friends from Sistema NB Perth-Andover-Tobique to visit Plaster Rock on Friday, December 15th to perform some Holiday Season music for the entire school. Here is some of what Gail had to say about the ensemble performance, led by Centre Director Dave Halpine:
"The mini-concert was awesome. Mr. Halpine quickly engaged the students by asking them to listen for specific things in the music or challenging them to be the first to raise their hand to name the piece they had heard. His interaction with the students was positive and enthusiastic..."
"Mr. Jae (NBYO alumnus and Masters in cello performance candidate at Rice University, Jaeyoung Chong) also took part in the teaching...asking the audience to help him create a piece of music. He had students select four notes from which he then improvised a fantastic piece of music which was mesmerizing to watch and experience..."
"The audience was in total awe of the level of playing and the beautiful music created by these talented students. The staff was especially impressed with the stage presence of the musicians, many of whom are quite young...."
"On a personal note I was very moved by this performance. I have followed Sistema NB since their very early beginnings and what Mr. Halpine and the assisting teachers have accomplished is nothing short of remarkable. The caliber of the music staggers me! I am a music teacher and fully appreciate the challenges of teaching children how to play an instrument, how to play within a group and the proper way to behave in the public eye. To watch them play with such seriousness and obvious devotion to their music and their teachers was wonderful."
"Congratulations to the Sistema NB musicians, Mr. Halpine and Mr. Jae for an enjoyable and memorable performance. Thank you to the Sistema Program for making it possible."