Mozart inspired performances rocked the rafters in the gymnasium of St. Catherine’s of Siena Parish School as students participated in the culmination of classical music study through the Pacific Symphony Class Act program this week.
Students from kindergarten to eighth grade paid tribute to the influential Austrian composer Wolfgang Mozart, who created a string of operas, concertos, symphonies and sonatas that profoundly shaped classical music in the 17th century.
Eighth grader Molly Renner, 14, performed a slow graceful minuet dance popular in the 17th and 18th century. “It was hard to keep two lines all in sync,” said Molly, who liked learning about Mozart but still prefers Taylor Swift and listening to pop and country music.
St. Catherine hosted the Class Act Bravo assembly to demonstrate student appreciation of Mozart’s music. Instruction at the 165-student school included lessons about Mozart from Pacific Symphony principal trombonist Michael Hoffman, who visited each class and trained teachers through the Class Act program. Hoffman, a symphony performer since 1989, said he participates in educating students “because music is the most important aspect and integral part of life.”
Class Act is a partnership between the Costa Mesa-based Pacific Symphony and 32 local schools that apply to participate. The program becomes part of school curriculum, with professional musicians serving as visiting adjunct instructors who introduce students to different musical styles, composers and instruments.
The symphony selects schools based on their willingness to hold teacher workshops on campus, foster classroom instruction and offer materials to enhance the program. Dedicated volunteers from each school are a necessity, says the program website.
Last year, St. Catherine students studied Vivaldi and the school has participated in Class Act for four years. The parish school built in 1957 is part of St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, which was established in 1932.
The finale of the Class Act program is a field trip to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa to hear a live performance by the entire Pacific Symphony orchestra.
Sixth-grade student Charlotte Sekerka, 11, a Led Zeppelin fan who performed in a “Star Wars” themed act that was a tribute to Mozart, said she has a new appreciation for symphonic music. She pointed out composer John Williams, who composed the theme for the “Star Wars” film, also enjoys Mozart.