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Altrusans Volunteer At Children’s Concert March 30

Excited chatter from more than 1,900 students instantly changed to attentive silence when the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra played the first notes of its Children’s Concert on March 30 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The annual concert began in 2006 by Altrusa Hot Springs Village District Eight member Martha Smither, who also is an active member of the Hot Springs/Hot Springs Village Symphony Guild and president of the nonprofit Arkansas Learning Through the Arts. Many volunteers were on hand to help the program run smoothly, including nine Altrusa members.

It was the first live children’s concert performance in two years because of the COVID-19 epidemic and enthusiasm was high. The symphony’s American Odyssey program had something all the kids could like, from a Hoedown (Movement 4 from Rodeo Suite by Aaron Copeland) to Festival Overture by William Grant Still, an Arkansas native and the first Black composer to have his music celebrating Black culture played by major symphony orchestras. 

The kids clapped and cheered, especially for Conway High School student Alan Sun, a clarinetist, and the winner of the ASO’s Stella Boyle Smith Young Artist Competition. Many of the students were seeing a live symphony performance for the first time ever, perhaps the first of many more in their lifetimes.

2022 Altrusa HSV Volunteers

To give them a better understanding of symphony performances and the music selected for American Odyssey, students learn in the classroom about the music and the historical events in America that influenced the composers, through a curriculum prepared by the Symphony Guild. Students attended from Jessieville, Mountain Pine, Fountain Lake, Langston, Park Magnet, Main St. Arts Magnet, and Gardner; Cutter Morning Star and Lake Hamilton students attended virtually.

Diane Bielanski
Communications Committee / Webmaster
Altrusa International of Hot Springs Village, AR, Inc.

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