Valerie Powell: Fun week ahead at Strings |

Valerie Powell: Fun week ahead at Strings

Andres Cardenes conducts Opening Night 2009 for the Strings Music Festival. This week at Strings, there will be a comical youth and family concert, lively gypsy jazz, and music from popular movies.

Strings Music Festival's concerts this week can be summed up in one word: fun. From a comical youth and family concert, to lively gypsy jazz, to music from popular movies, everyone will enjoy this week's music.

Have you ever fought with your parents? Tried to get your kids to clean up their rooms? Had the TV vs. homework battle? Bill Harley lets you know you're not alone. Lacing everyday situations with song, these humorous 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday youth and family concerts may entertain the parents even more than the kids.

If you haven't heard of gypsy jazz, Friday is your chance to check it out with the John Jorgenson Quintet. Originating in Paris in the 1930s, gypsy jazz instrumentation typically includes a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, a solo violin and bass. A unique strumming pattern called "la pompe," which has a fast swing feel, and chords that stray from the simple major and minor progression, embody the style. Jorgenson combines bluegrass with jazz improvisation, creating the music that made him a pioneer in the gypsy jazz movement.

To close out our classical season, two full-scale orchestra concerts are Wednesday and Saturday nights. If you've been missing that rich sound, this week will satisfy your craving.

On Wednesday, you'll recognize music from famous movies including "Psycho" and Disney's "Fantasia." One of the most famous scenes in cinema history, the shower scene from "Psycho," frightens the audience right out of their seats. Although the scare is partly because of the murderer appearing behind the shower curtain, the effect would not be complete without the sharp dissonance and repetition of notes, which evoke anxiety and panic in the listener. On the other end of the spectrum, the first movement of Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 is the backdrop to a calm, country scene in "Fantasia." The movement contains gentle melodies, which coincide with the colorful centaurs having a morning bath in the river. Whether petrifying or serene, these movie scenes would not be the same without classical music.

Saturday's classical finale orchestra performs Mozart's "Prague" Symphony No. 38 and Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony No. 3. Mozart's Symphony No. 38 received its nickname "Prague" from the city where it made its world premiere. However, the symphony was supposed to premiere in London, so if it had, perhaps we would know it today as the London symphony.

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Valerie Powell is the administrative assistant at Strings Music Festival. She can be reached at or 970-879-5056, ext. 111.

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