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A Professional String Quartet Provides Hen Hud Musicians with Advice, Inspiration

Dozens of high school students seated in Hendrick Hudson High School’s auditorium were nearly still and almost silent. The few moves they made were predictable ones — either raising their phones to record or to simply applaud.

It was certainly a rare and special treat for our HHHS musicians on Tuesday, February 6 when they received a visit from the Balourdet Quartet. The professional string quartet not only performed but listened to students rehearse and provided them with valuable feedback.

The students were also given a chance to ask questions, which ranged from very specific and focused to big-picture quandaries.

“How do you choose your music?” one student asked.

“Who are your favorite composers?” asked another.

“This was incredible exposure for our students to get to work so closely with professionals,” Hen Hud’s Orchestra Director, Lauren Morabito, said. “And they can see that these musicians are not too much older than them, which is cool. They also were able to receive some really valuable one-on-one feedback.”

The visit was made possible through a grant from Friends of Music, an organization established to bring musicians of world renown to Westchester County while engaging children and older students and nurturing the audience of tomorrow. Friends of Music, which is now in its 70th season, unites professional musicians with area students through its Partnership in Education Program.

During this week’s visit to Hendrick Hudson, members of the Balourdet Quartet encouraged students to attend live performances and stressed how valuable the experience can be for a young musician.

Hen Hud students certainly learned plenty from the intimate experience provided on Tuesday. The string quartet led workshops for the Chamber Orchestra and Concert Orchestra, as well as small-group instruction with other student performers. They then ended the day with a United Sound Workshop, which allowed SAILOR students to learn from the pros while working with peer mentors in the student orchestra.

“Working with performers of this ability — it’s just not something the students will see or experience on a regular basis,” Morabito said.

The experience was granted to the district free-of-charge after Morabito secured a grant for the third straight year from Friends of Music.

“Friends of Music wants to help ensure the future of this great art form,” said Solange De Santis, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Friends of Music Concerts. “This,” she added, pointing to a crowd of students, “is the future of music.”

This won’t be the only opportunity Hendrick Hudson students will have to learn from the pros. The high school will welcome the Amo Brass Quintet, which will work with band students on April 29. The visit will also be possible through Friends of Music’s Partnership in Education Program.

Friends of Music will also host three concerts featuring professional chamber music on March 10, April 14 and April 28 at Sleepy Hollow High School. Tickets are free for any students age 18 and under.