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Music Unwrapped Family Concert
Sat, May 28
Empress Theatre - Fort Macleod


Time: 1 p.m.

Tickets: $10/$5 for students, and children aged 6 and under get in for FREE.

Exposing babies and youth to classical music by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven has been shown through research dating as far back as the mid-1800s to produce positive effects in child development, health and spatial reasoning.

With the diverse international talent performing at the sixth annual Fort Macleod International Festival, the Empress Theatre is offering, for the second consecutive year, the Music Unwrapped Family Concert, 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 28.  The purpose of this family concert is to expose local youth to some of the finest music that classical music has to offer, and for them to be inspired by some of the most talented young musicians currently performing world-wide.

The concert will include music by the great masters Beethoven and Mozart, as well as pieces written by Jennifer Higdon, an American composer who won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for her Violin Concerto, and a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto. 

The musicians for this concert, the Project Muse players, are all young professional musicians of high calibre: Brooke Day, a viola player originally from Lethbridge, Alberta who performs throughout the U.K and currently studies under Rivka Golani, the festival’s artistic director, in London, England; Sarah Gieck a flutist, faculty member at the University of Lethbridge and active performer with orchestras throughout Alberta, including Calgary and Lethbridge;  Tadasuke Iijima, a violinist from Japan who also studies at Trinity College of Music with Rivka Golani and has an impressive performing schedule in the U.K. and Japan; and Arturo Serna, a cellist from Venezuela who is a post-graduate at Trinity College of Music and considered to be one of the finest cello players from Venezuela.  Carefully selected pieces like Serenade in D Major, Op. 25 for flute, violin and viola by L. van Beethoven, and Divertimento (Streichtrio) K. 564 for violin, viola and cello by W.A. Mozart, will be performed and discussed with the children and audience members of Music Unwrapped.  Classical music has a more complex structure than country or rock, and researchers believe this complexity is what primes the brain to solve spatial problems more quickly.  These rising stars will also talk to the audience about music instruments and elements of music, including the aspects of melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, dynamics, tempo, and modes.

“It is a great gift to be able to introduce the young to the arts including music like the classical greats,” says Brent Hutchinson, Empress Theatre executive director.  “That being said, we are encouraged by the positive response we have received so far regarding this concert and hope to see many youth from in and around Fort Macleod and southern Alberta at the concert.”

Studies conducted in the mid and late 1990s concluded that classical music creates new pathways in the brain.  The buzzword “Mozart Effect” evolved from these findings and encouraged an international shift towards the introduction of even the youngest of children to classical music.  The highly successful Baby Einstein music, video, book and television series produced by Disney is based on this same principal and aims to introduce even the youngest to classical music.

“One of our main goals at the Empress Theatre is to provide a broad base of programming that reaches the young and old, and touches many different aspects of the arts,” says Hutchinson.  “We are not only here to provide entertainment, but also to provide educational experiences like the community learning programs through Willow Creek Adult Learning, or our summer drama camps for youth, or Music Unwrapped and Project Muse - a program provided by the Fort Macleod International Festival that allows Project Muse players to visit southern Alberta classrooms and gives students the opportunity to learn about wind and string instruments and be inspired by some of the finest young musicians in the world.”

Many of the local youth will meet the Project Muse musicians through visits to the schools.  Some of the schools will also participate in the Project Muse Art Project – the students learn how composers can change things like modes (arrangement of notes in a scale), dynamics (loundness), and tempo (speed), to create different moods and effects.  The students then draw pictures about the music that they hear.  “This is a great way for students to exercise both parts of their brains,” says Jon Helm, Empress Theatre Community Programs Coordinator.  “They must take an abstract object – the sounds that make up the music, convert that to a ‘literal’ object – assign meaning to the music, and then create a representation of that as another abstract object. – or the piece of artwork.”  Some of this artwork will be displayed on the Empress screen during the performance on Saturday afternoon.

Music Unwrapped is one of seven concerts being performed during the Fort Macleod International Festival this year.  25 musicians from four continents will perform at the Galt Museum in Lethbridge, the Grand Theatre in Calgary, the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod and the Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump in Fort Macleod.  


Empress Theatre   -   Website
235 Main Street
T0L 0Z0
Fort Macleod
Country: ca


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