Looking for a Harp and Finding the Wonder and Beauty of Symphonic Music

At the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Children’s Concert Thursday, the Raiders March theme from the Raiders of the Lost Ark launched kids on a quest to South America in search of a golden harp.

Altrusa International of HSV was there to help them on their way, volunteering as ushers to get 2,400 kids from their buses and seated in their section at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs, then back to the buses once the concert ended.

HSV Symphony Guild member Martha Smither, who is also an Altrusan, introduced the concert and Associate Conductor Valery Saul.

The children’s enthusiasm for the symphony journey lit up the room like one of Indy’s torches in a dark and mysterious temple as Saul, dressed in an Indy-style hat and wearing a Safari Guide T-shirt, led an entertaining program that was almost a theatrical performance.

The students explored familiar and unfamiliar symphonic music, from John Williams’ themes in the Indy and Jurassic Park movies to Johann Strauss’s Radetzky March (as they raced on their quest for the harp).

Anyone who thinks the kids would be sitting quietly, as adults might at a symphony concert, and clapping politely after each concert piece should think again.

Saul had the kids enthralled by the music, stomping the floor with excitement and rhythmically clapping to the music as their quest grew more intense. For some kids, it was their first exposure to a symphony, and judging from the big smiles and audience participation, it won’t be their last.

Altrusa International of HSV volunteers at the Children’s Concert every year, partly as a community service and partly because it’s so much fun. The service project is only one of the many the club performs annually.

Volunteering at Children’s Concert (l to r) Carol Heckert, Melanie Pederson, Brenda Walls, Martha Smither, Elaine Schroeder, Valerie Derryberry, Kathy Jervis, Gail Dann, Cheryl Boehmke, Mary Kramer, Diane Shaw, Amanda Allen, & Patti Geiser.

Coming up: Altrusa International of HSV is sponsoring free hearing screenings on Saturday, October 28 for the community, conducted by the UAMS Audiology Department students and staff, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Faith Fellowship Church, 3213 N Hwy 7, Hot Springs Village. No appointment is necessary.

The screenings can detect hearing problems in adults and children ages two and older, and UAMS staff will be on hand to advise those with hearing loss on possible next steps.

Featured Image: Altrusan Martha Smither welcomed students to the concert and introduced the symphony, led by new Associate Conductor Valery Saul.

By Amanda Miller Allen