Inspiration! Marissa Regni hosts NSO’s Young People’s Concerts

Original Post by Krysta Cihi on

Each season, the National Symphony Orchestra presents a series of Young People’s Concerts for school children grades 3 through 6 throughout the Washington, DC area. Hundreds of school buses carry thousands of children to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to learn about classical music in fun and engaging ways. Over the past several years, the NSO’s Young People’s Concerts (or YPCs, for short!) have explored themes such as heroism in music (“Summon the Heroes!), music as a language (“Listen Up!”), and extremes in music (“Exploring Extremes: Music to the Max!”). For the second year in a row, NSO Principal Second Violinist, Marissa Regni, will be hosting the Young People’s Concerts, alongside guest conductor Michael Butterman. This year’s theme: Inspiration! These concerts will explore the ideas that help shape composers’ creativity, such as literature, poetry, travel, nature and more. Here’s what Marissa had to say about her experience with the YPCs…

Michael Butterman and Marissa Regni rehearsing for the YPCs
Michael Butterman and Marissa Regni rehearsing for the YPCs

“I’m really excited about hosting the Young People’s Concerts this season. I had such a good time last year, and my NSO colleagues were so supportive.

Of all the extra musical projects I do, the educational concerts are my absolute favorite. I think they are so important because we are building (I hope!) our future audiences. Each concert I develop is a huge undertaking, but it is so worth it because the kids are so energizing. My goal always is to teach something valuable, while still making it fun and entertaining. I don’t ever want to be stiff or stuffy. And so, as my colleagues will attest, I let my crazy personality shine through. If people of any age walk away learning something AND having fun–well, then I’ve done my job. I try to make my shows interesting for my colleagues, as well. I want the audience to see the musicians smiling and enjoying themselves.

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Last season, a couple of months after I hosted the Young People’s Concerts, I played a concerto with the NSO on an all-Bach subscription concert. I found out that a young girl in the audience came to that concert (with her family) because she had been to the YPCs with her school and wanted to see me again. I got a 10 year old to ask her parents for symphony tickets! That was the highlight of my week! Throughout the year, I would be approached by kids who enthusiastically said they were at the YPCs and how much they loved it. We are getting students excited about the magic of symphonic music!

I think we are teaching some excellent ideas in this year’s concerts: what inspires composers as they write music. There are wonderful musical examples and concepts that I hope will really get students talking and brainstorming long after they leave the Concert Hall.”

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