Mission Possible: Symphony Program, “Strings For Generations,” Bonds Parents and Children in Meaningful Ways

Strings for GenerationsMusic is an activity that can be shared and enjoyed across generations. This universal truth inspired the creation of Pacific Symphony’s new “Strings for Generations” program, developed in partnership with the Irvine Chinese School/South Coast Chinese Cultural Association. For eight weeks this past spring, 25 parents and children played and studied music together, resulting in stronger bonds and a deeper understanding of one another. The first evening, student participants, ranging from grades 4-8, confidently marched into the room at the Irvine Chinese School with their violin, viola or cello, their parents in tow. After introducing Symphony violinists and music coaches Christine Frank and Shelly Shi, music educator and the program’s percussion instructor Carol Ajibabi led the parents off to begin their music instruction. Many had never played an instrument before, and did not read music. Their task was to learn the percussion parts for the pieces the ensemble would perform in just eight weeks.

Strings for Generations“It almost seemed to me to be a ‘mission impossible’ at the beginning,” said Haiying Chen, whose two sons played violin in the string ensemble. “It was a whole new experience to sign up for ‘Strings for Generations.’ My boys and I have never been engaged and challenged together to play a piece with such delicacy and discipline found at the level of an orchestra!

“This experience provided a unique perspective for me as a parent,” Chen continues. “Now I understand the perseverance and resilience that my children need to succeed not only in music studying, but also in anything in life. On the other hand, it is also fun and relaxing to spend the hours together producing beautiful sounds.”

Strings for Generations“Strings for Generations” is made possible through The James Irvine Foundation’s New California Arts Fund, a grant-funded initiative aimed at engaging more culturally diverse communities with the Symphony. Strings for Generations is scheduled to continue in the fall, with a special performance at the Irvine Chinese School’s 40th Anniversary celebration at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. For more information on this program, contact Alison Levinson, director of community arts participation at alevinson@pacificsymphony.org or (714) 876-2312.