I just came in from the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music open house for children.
Now, I normally don't go to things like this because I don't have kids.
But my great-nephew Elijah is visiting and when he found out about it, he couldn't wait to go. He was so anxious to go that he could barely wait for me to get in the car. He kept asking his grandmother (my sister Nancy) if we were going the right way.
The first place we went into was the Studio Theatre, where a student was demonstrating music on the cello. Following her were two violin students.
Then we walked into the Schwob School, where several of the rehearsal halls were turned into various instrument "petting zoos."
The first was the percussion room, where Elijah really wanted to go. He wants to be a drummer when he grows up. But a little boy had the one drum and wasn't about to give it up. So Elijah played the various other percussion instruments like the xylophone and cymbals.
Then we went into the brass room where he tried playing the trombone and tuba. He's a tiny boy for a 5-year-old. The tuba was huge compared to him. But somehow, he managed to blow into it and made sound.
At 11 a.m. the CSU Philharmonic was performing, so it was into Legacy Hall we went. When we sat down, he asked what that big thing on the wall was. I didn't know what he was talking about at first, but then I realized it was the Jordan Concert Organ. He wanted to know if anyone was going to play that.
About 10 minutes in, he had to go to the bathroom, so I took him. On the way out, I saw Joseph Golden, who teaches organ, and told him that Elijah was wondering if anyone was going to play the organ. He told us that as soon as the orchestra was done, he was going to do a demonstration.
After the Philharmonic played, Joseph came on stage and urged everyone to come upstairs to watch him play.
What a treat. Most people will never be able to be that close to the organ while he's playing. And these kids and their parents and grandparents were able to do just that.
Then it was back to the instrument petting zoos.
We went into the woodwind room, where Elijah "played" the saxophone. He had a rough time with the flute. The student told him that it was OK. It was a week before she could make a sound with her instrument.
Then we went into the string room, where Elijah picked up a violin and bow and actually made pretty sounds. The student said he actually played a chord.
The final room was a huge room with a variety of percussion instruments and a piano. He played a little with a xylophone and then hopped up on the piano bench. What he "played" sounded like a jazz improvisation. I was amazed.
I know his parents can't afford it right now, but they really need to get into music lessons. He's really got an aptitude for music.
And I have to commend director Fred Cohen. All of the student "zookeepers" were wonderful. If they decide not to become performers, they'll make fabulous teachers. Every last one of them was patient with Elijah (and every other child). They showed him the correct way to hold an instrument. In the case of the brass and woodwind instrument zookeepers, those students showed him how to hold his mouth, lips and tongue and how to blow air into the instruments.
I have to congratulate everyone at the Schwob School who gave up the better part of a Saturday to make a bunch of little children happy. And the adults who accompanied them a great Saturday morning as well.
I'm just sorry I didn't write down all the students names who helped Elijah have a wonderful morning. I thank all of you. Sincerely!