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Monday, September 28, 2020

String Family Players

They play a quick four notes and ask the audience to guess the theme song. The audience is silent. Professor Garineh Avakian exclaims “The Simpsons!” The String Family Players finished the song for the audience.

From the Simpsons theme to Bach, The String Family Players know how to keep an audience engaged. The String Family Players are a quintet consisting of two violinists, a cellist, and a bassist.

The first concert of the semester was held in the performing arts center on the Art Hill at Pierce College. Doors opened at 12:45 pm and closed promptly at 1 pm.

The quintet began their performance of a string rendition of George Frideric Handel’s Queen of Sheba.

David Young joked they were being forced to play by a man with a gun. His light-hearted demeanor was a breath of fresh air in the usually serious world of classical music. This is what makes them so appealing to kindergarteners and college students alike.

The band takes turns to each showcase their instruments and their capabilities. Nancy Roth, one of the violinists, began with Charles L. Johnson’s “Hen Cackle Rag”. Roth demonstrated double stop, a technique where two notes are played at once. During this piece, the audience clapped along. It ended with a hearty “hee haw” from one of the members.

Elizabeth Wilson, the other violinist, performed Bach’s “Concerto in A minor” with the quintet. Wilson and Roth demonstrated counterpoint with separate yet harmonious violin parts.

Lynn Grants, the violist, demonstrated the instrument’s capabilities with Telemann’s “Concerto for Viola”. Maryanne Steinbrenner, the cellist, played Brahma’s “Trio”. David Young, the bassist, finished the demonstrations with Leadbelly’s “Good Morning Blues”.

Flight of the Bumblebee was not on the music program that was handed out yet the piece was still performed, which shocked the audience. Young shined in this performance as he was the soloist. It almost sounded like a bee was in the room. Towards the end of the musical piece, Wilson slapped her face as if swatting away a bee. The String Family Players know how to keep an audience focused.

The quintet decided to give Young the solo because the song was used in a Black & Decker advertisement. They felt a bass was most fitting for the song used in a power tool commercial.

The concert finished strong with “Hoedown” from the ballet Rodeo. The audience clapped along and just when the audience thought the piece was over, it picked them back up again.

After the performance, an audience member asked Young what is his favorite piece to play together.

“Oh man, that’s like saying what’s my favorite type of pie. There’s only like 20,” Young said.

According to Avakian, there will be concerts every Thurs. except for Nov. 8. Next week the concert will consist of African drumming along with dancing.  The next concert is set Thurs. Oct. 4 at 1pm at the PAB mainstage featuring African inspired drumming and dancing.


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