“The Oakland Symphony won’t be shushed, not even at the library,” writes Mark Hedin in Thursday’s (7/28) Mercury News (California). “Its musicians this summer have been holding ‘petting zoos’ in library community rooms. … Oakland residents of all ages are taking to their presentations, a half-hour of demonstrations and music, followed by a half-hour free-for-all in which instruments of every orchestral description … are up for grabs to anyone who wants to try them. ‘We started to do it for kids, but we realized that teens, adults and grown-ups well into their golden years’ are drawn to the instruments the symphony brings,” said Beth Vandervennet, Oakland Symphony cellist and education coordinator. “ ‘We’re really cultivating music appreciation,’ in hopes that the kids will be inspired to explore musical opportunities …. ‘You see their eyes light up; they’re actually playing with us! … It’s the beginning of the path,’ Vandervennet said.” Beth Vandervennet is one of five orchestra musicians to receive the first Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service this April, click here for more.

Posted July 29, 2016
In photo: Oakland Symphony musician Beth Vandervennet, left, performs during the orchestra’s instrument petting zoo event at the Oakland Main Library Children’s Room on Monday, July 25, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)