In Tuesday’s (2/18) News-Democrat (Missouri), Jamie Forsythe reports, “With a calm demeanor and a determined look in his eye, 11-year-old Austin Gilley played the bassoon for the first time Tuesday afternoon. The sixth-grader at Marissa Elementary School received his first lesson from three bassoonists with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. ‘It was like getting a Grammy award,’ Austin said after his lesson. ‘I think it was pretty cool.’ David Robertson, the symphony’s music director, donated the bassoon to Marissa Community Unit School District 40 in memory of bassoonist Andrew Thompson, 27, who unexpectedly died late last year.… Bassoonists Andrew Cuneo, Andrew Gott and Felicia Foland visited the elementary school Wednesday to donate the instrument to the school.… Austin’s fellow sixth-graders—all 42 of them—weren’t left out. Before school released Tuesday, they were treated to a brief performance by the bassoon trio.… For the last 10 years, students from Marissa Elementary have attended a rehearsal of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra every year. This initiative appropriately named ‘Opera-Tunity’ was spearheaded by Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer of Lebanon and [sixth-grade teacher Nancy] Wagner, who are friends.” The article is accompanied by a video report.

Posted February 21, 2014