Despite challenges faced by educational and musical organizations in our communities and across the country, nearly a half century of classical and semi-classical music performed specifically for Yavapai County school children will continue with the presentation of the 47th annual Music Memory Concert in Prescott, performed by the Prescott POPs Symphony Orchestra at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.

Previously scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, the event has been postponed to a date yet to be determined in early March, because of harsh winter weather conditions.

Designed to enhance student understanding and appreciation of both the composition and performance of orchestral music, this concert also works to encourage student interest in the study of music. Student listening guides/booklets are made available to each student for classroom study with their music teacher, Music Memory mentors or home educator.

“We create a booklet, a study guide, and our study guide goes out to all the music teachers in all the schools in the county, the ones that we coordinate with and know that they’re going to bring kids to the concert,” said Fran Willes, music education and enrichment director for the POPs. “There’s a lot of geographic and historical references in those and so forth. We talk about the music. They get to hear the music, they get used to the instruments.”

The booklet provides grade-specific information on each composition, their composer, and musical themes. Concert manners and listening guides, a concert-oriented word list worksheet, a word search and other music-related activities are also provided to enhance learning and interest.

“This year we started showing in the classrooms, we have access to YouTube music, so we can actually have them watch and orchestra play the music that they’re going to hear,” Willes said. “They get a chance to see what those instruments really look like and how they’re played and so forth and there are quizzes and all kinds of things. So, it’s a huge preparation for the students and for the schools where they don’t have music teachers, which is probably at least half of our schools.”

Since its beginnings in 1976, nearly 95,000 students from area communities have attended this annual event. Originally brought to the Prescott area by the Yavapai Symphony Association (YSA) in coordination with the Phoenix Symphony Guild, the following year the YSA assumed full responsibility for the Music Memory program — which was then performed by the Phoenix Symphony Youth Orchestra in Sharlot Hall. Subsequently the Yavapai College Orchestra performed the music, followed by the Prescott POPs Symphony Orchestra, taking on both the management of the program and playing of the concerts in 2013.

For more information about the performance and updated scheduling, visit www.prescottpops.com.

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