Children from pre-school age and up will storm Fort Hays State University’s Memorial Union on Saturday, Nov. 15, for String-a-Palooza, a musical fair and extravaganza presented by the Western Kansas String Academy and the Alpha Pi chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota. The morning’s festivities are free to the public, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Sunset Lounge of the Memorial Union.
A variety of hands-on booths and activities will be available at 10 a.m. for students to explore, featuring the instrument petting zoo, musical guessing games, a pre-school song circle, string instruments from around the world and a make-your-own instrument station. Several live musical performances and demonstrations will also occur throughout the day.
Harpist Cathy Clewett will demonstrate the skill it takes to play a troubadour harp, a popular instrument in Celtic music. Clewett has performed with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony, the Grinnell College Orchestra, and the St. Louis Philharmonic, among others, and was a founding member of the Celtic Coyotes, an Albuquerque-based Celtic band.
The WKSA Fiddlers, the WKSA Guitar Groupies and the Hays High Stilh Wool band will also share their unique musical stylings with the crowd.
Candace Fleming’s picture book "Gabriella’s Song" will be the centerpiece of this year's musical story hour, a String-a-Palooza! tradition. In her home of Venice, Gabriella begins to hear a tune that she can't stop humming, and soon she has captivated the town with her song. String Academy intermediate orchestra and guitar students will perform the score, written by FHSU music student Makenzie Rempe, while Dr. Doug Drabkin, FHSU associate professor of philosophy, narrates.
Fairgoers will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a member of the Western Kansas String Academy by both observing and participating in classes. Early in the morning, the Violin/Viola/Cello Level II, Guitar Level II and the Meet the Orchestra pre-school music classes will be open for visitor observation.
Starting at 10 a.m., instruments will be provided for free group lessons on guitar, violin, and cello to children of kindergarten age or older. Those interested in participating in the free group lessons must contact the String Academy by Nov.12 to reserve a seat.
A full brochure of String-a-Palooza! activities is available from the WKSA.
For more information, contact Cathy Drabkin, executive director, at 628-5363 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the WKSA Web site at www.fhsu.edu/wksa.