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Docents Help Open Up World Of Music For Kids

SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1998

If you have an interest in symphonic music, you qualify to be a docent for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.

You don’t have to be musically trained; you don’t have to play an instrument; you don’t even have to read music. You simply have to be interested enough to spend a few hours twice a year explaining some of the whys and wherefores of classical music to third- and fifth-grade students.

Those who do know such things train docents (lecturers or guides) how to pass that information along.

Retired music teachers prepare scripts that inform young listeners on what they will hear at an upcoming concert.

Docents present 30-minute programs to students in area school districts twice a year, said Sandy Kernerman, the symphony’s docent program coordinator.

In the fall, volunteers preview a Symfunnies concert to fifth-grade students a few days before an Opera House performance; and they tell third-graders about a score’s theme and variation the day before a string quartet visits their school.

Thanks to the scripts, docents can learn with the children, Kernerman said.

While docents are volunteers, their rewards are amazing, Kernerman said. The children really appreciate their visits. Kernerman has even been asked for her autograph.

Besides, “docents have a stake in the orchestra,” she said. “They feel very much a part of it.”

That’s not usually possible in larger cities.

“In a huge metropolitan, people don’t have a chance to be a part of (a symphony program) unless they are huge contributors,” Kernerman said.

The symphony has more funding for its 1998-99 docent program than volunteers. So, if you’d like to be a part of the city’s musical community and maybe attract young children to a new level of the arts, this is your opportunity.

Call Lynn Feller-Marshall, the Spokane Symphony’s education coordinator, at 326-3136.

, DataTimes


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