Learning by ear, playing by heart: Montessori violinists continue Christmas tourPublished 9:35pm Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Holiday music was part of Wednesday’s buffet at Golden Corral.
Washington Montessori Public Charter School’s Suzuki violinists serenaded diners and then gave Walmart shoppers a holiday treat.
“We’ve been to Walmart, the Blind Center … and on Friday, we’re going to a nursing home,” said Christian Boudreaux, a fifth-grader.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, students baked 50 pies and delivered them to an assisted, living facility.
The performances are free, but at public places like Walmart and Golden Corral, students accept donations that are then passed along to the Heifer Project, a nonprofit agency that donates livestock to third-world countries and teaches families how to raise and use them, explained Boudreaux.
About 200 Montessori students take violin. The top 20 to 25 are invited to be a part of the touring violinists.
“Anybody can learn violin at the school. But only the best get invited to the tour group,” Boudreaux said.
Michele Rhem, Montessori’s violin instructor, selects the students who have accomplished the largest repertoire. She said limiting the tour group to a handful of students is the hardest part for her.
“I want every single kid to have the opportunity to do this,” she said.
The current group ranges in age from 6 to 11.
Colby Tant and Aurora Freeman started playing in the first grade.
Judy Tant, Colby’s mother, said students rent the violins, but the lessons are free.
“Which is phenomenal,” she added.
The Suzuki discipline teaches students to play violin by ear. Judy Tant said her son recently managed to sound out the theme to “Star Wars” on his violin.
Students beat their instructor to Golden Corral. They warmed up and anxiously prepared to share about 90 minutes of classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Joy to the World” and “Little Drummer Boy.”
On her arrival, Rhem quieted the group and gave them the following instructions, “Go to rest position. And I want your hearts to get prepared to give.”