World-class guitarists face tough audience - children
Published: January 19, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Classical music came alive for about 200 elementary school students Friday as a world-renowned classical duet presented a "Listen and Learn," workshop.
Students from Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School and visiting students from United Methodist School filed into the Larsen School auditorium and were entertained by Elina Chekan and Rene Izquierdo of Duo Exaudi.
The two are a part of the final concert in the Whim Candlelight Concert series that takes place this weekend and the "Victor Borge's Listen and Learn Music Workshop" for school year 2012-2013.
Duo Exaudi has been hailed as world-class guitar players who give a dazzling performance.
The Duo formed in 2011 and already is receiving international acclaim. Some of this year's performances include the Chamber Music in Milwaukee Series, the Brussels Royal Museum and the Tucson Classical Guitar Society.
During the workshop, Chekan and Izquierdo talked to the students about how they got turned on to music and how much they enjoy making music with their instruments.
They played many classical pieces that ended to rousing rounds of applause and also surprised the young students with renditions of MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This" and music from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."
Chekan said talking and doing intimate performances for students is something that they have never done before and that it was a memorable experience for them both.
"We never talk to children, and when we realized how young they were, we knew we had to really perform to keep them interested," she said.
Chekan said that in her native home of Russia she had a tremendous amount of exposure to classical music and other arts, and the appreciation has stayed with her into adulthood.
"I began really playing as a professional at the age of 13, and now I'm 38, so it has been a while," she said.
Izquierdo said he began playing the guitar at the age of 10 in his home of Havana, Cuba. When he was older and moved to Miami, he worked packing boxes in warehouses until he got a chance to go to school on a music scholarship.
"The guitar saved my life, and I am grateful," he said.
He encouraged the students to do the best that they can in whatever they do and to always strive for excellence.
"You should never look at the math or English that you do as a waste, because you never know where they can take you in your life," he said. "Do not learn because your mother or your teacher begs you to do it, learn and do your best because it will make you a better person and determine your future."
The event was sponsored by the V.I. Council on the Arts and the St. Croix Landmarks Society. The goal of the program is to broaden musical appreciation by deepening understanding and stimulating imagination in the students, according to Sonia Dow of the Arts Council.
The concert series ends tonight with a performance by Duo Exaudi from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in the Whim Great House. For more information, contact 772-0598 or email email@example.com.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.