Singing Pied Pipers

The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival brings new voices to the four Orcas preschools and toddler centers, introducing two talented musicians and singers.

Sharon Abreu (pictured on slider) visits Kaleidoscope and Children’s House weekly while Anita Orne (pictured below leading one of her favorite songs about a moose) visits Salmonberry and Montessori. They are enthusiastically referred to as the “Singing Pied Pipers” when teaching our island young ones new and familiar songs.

Sharon, an acclaimed classical soprano, and Anita, of the popular fiddle trio JP and the OK Rhythm Boys, have jointly developed a list of songs that includes American folk tunes and a diversity of cultural traditions. You’d not be surprised to hear such home-grown classics as “Old MacDonald”, “This Land is Your Land”, (complete with sign language accompaniment) Row Row  Row Your Boat”, and “You are My Sunshine”. The children are now heard to use their new and increasing musical vocabulary such as ENCORE! to request repeats of favorites. Listening skills are practiced with these engaged young ones as they imagine forests and chilly weather on snowy days, for example, when  Sharon plays “Winter” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Classical music is woven in and among the 40 minutes of music times.

This shared canon of songs and lessons in musical language and listening are aimed at providing a continuity of musical experience for our youngest islanders. As they enter kindergarten they will have a common language to begin new friendships – their “library” of songs. The Chamber Music Festival introduced the instrumental Pied Piper program to Orcas preschools several years ago, bringing talented community musicians to show how their instruments look, sound and bring joy to their lives. The Singing Pied Pipers is a grand and important addition to OICMF’s Music Education on Orcas.

The Chamber Music Festival’s preschool Music Education is sponsored by several  generous community members. Most recently a distinct Music Education Endowment Fund was established to help sustain these important OICMF offerings. Interested in learning more and helping? Contact Victoria at 360-376-6636.