Quad City Symphony Orchestra features petting zoo at Mercado


Cellist and QCSO teacher Elisabeth Oar

A disgruntled conductor might say that conducting an orchestra is like keeping cats. As part of a new partnership, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra is offering an “Instrument Petting Zoo” at the Mercado on Fifth in downtown Moline, from Friday July 2 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

“The QCSO has really doubled our efforts in private and group lessons,” said Marc Zyla, director of education and community engagement, personnel manager and principal horn player of the orchestra on Wednesday. The QCSO has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley and the weekly Mercado on Fifth Avenue (in the 11e-12e streets) is just outside the Ontiveros Teen Center, so it made sense to bring in musicians to help spark musical curiosity among families attending the free Friday events.

Violinist and QCSO teacher Carolyn Van De Velde.

Violinist and QCSO teacher Carolyn Van De Velde.

QCSO cellist Elisabeth Oar and violinist Carolyn Van De Velde – both of whom teach as part of the private lesson program – will be at the Mercado on Friday evening, allowing visitors to hold a West Music violin and cello, another partner of the orchestra, Zyla said.

“This is our main objective, just to go out into the community and put instruments in the hands of the people,” he said. “If you want to learn how to play, we have people to teach you. “

The orchestra has 28 instructors for private lessons – in violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone / euphonium, saxophone, tuba, percussion and harp. Oar offers small group cello lessons, and Van De Velde and Sabrina Tabby are being trained to offer group violin lessons, Zyla said.

Marc Zyla is Principal Horn of QCSO and Director of Education and Community Engagement.

Marc Zyla is QCSO Principal Horn and Director of Education and Community Engagement.

In addition to offering group lessons at boys ‘and girls’ clubs in Moline and Davenport, the program will take place at Jefferson Elementary School in Milan and lessons for 3 and 4 year olds at the Bettendorf Family Museum in starting in the fall, he said.

Classes are offered at different fee levels, set by teachers, and the QCSO offers financial assistance if needed, Zyla said.

“The QCSO is very committed to fundraising for financial aid,” he said, noting that the Morency Family Foundation has been very supportive of the course programs.

Private instructors not only give students weekly instruction on how to improve their musicality and technical skills, but they also serve as trusted guides through various activities such as audition preparation, finding the right college, and l purchase of instruments, according to the orchestra. The QCSO has played an active role in providing these services to the community for decades and the QCSO private lesson program pairs students of all ages and skill levels with highly qualified instructors for weekly classes in locations around the QC area.

Carolyn Van De Velde helps girl try out a violin on June 8 "Paint the city" event at River Music Experience, Davenport.

Carolyn Van De Velde helps a girl try out a violin at the June 8 ‘Paint the Town’ event at River Music Experience, Davenport.

A young girl tries out a cello from the Quad City Symphony on June 8 "Paint the city" event at River Music Experience, Davenport.

A young girl tries out a cello from the Quad City Symphony during the “Paint the Town” event on June 8 at River Music Experience, Davenport.

The Instrument Petting Zoo will be at the Mercado de Moline on Friday July 2, 23 and 30e (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) and the new Mercado in downtown Davenport on July 10, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is not QCSO’s first partnership with Mercado – which aims to showcase Hispanic food, culture, entertainment and small businesses in the area.

The orchestra presented the Pixar film “Coco” in concert, with live orchestral accompaniment, in January 2020 at the Adler Theater in Davenport for two performances.

Through partnerships with Mercado on Fifth, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Quad Cities, and the Figge Art Museum, the Adler and RiverCenter have been transformed into the Land of the Dead with special pre-show activities including performances of the Ballet Folklorico and the Glenview Middle School Mariachi Band. .

For more information on the QCSO Private Lesson Program, visit https://qcso.org/education/private-lesson-program/.

Quad City Symphony Orchestra features petting zoo at Mercado

Jonathan Turner has covered the Quad-Cities art scene for 25 years, first as a reporter for the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, then as a reporter for the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has often been seen on local theater stages, most notably at Bucktown Revue and the Black Box Theater.


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