From November 9 through the 17th, the ATLYS quartet (Sabrina Tabby and Jinty McTavish, violins; Rita Andrade, viola; Genevieve Tabby, cello) engaged with the students at Geneva’s North Street School through virtual music classes. Although the initially proposed in-person visit to the school was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, the quartet and Laurie Williams, the General Music Instructor at North Street School, put in incredible effort to make the visit happen.
This virtual visit marks the second year of the quartet’s relationship with members of the Finger Lakes community. At the 2019 GMF pre-season events, ATLYS reached more than 1,150 audience members through performances at local schools and other locations, including an in- person session for the students of North Street School. This month, upon seeing the quartet through the Zoom platform, the 4th and 5th grade students recognized the quartet from the concert last year, and showed their excitement by enthusiastically taking part in the activities planned for the class.
The quartet visited three different classrooms for 45 minutes each morning. The class involved four activities: introduction of the quartet and instruments, coloring while listening to an ATLYS recording, playing made-at-home percussive instruments along with an ATLYS performance, and ending with a Q&A session.
“The pieces we chose for the fourth and fifth graders were based on the genres they are studying this year in their music classes,” shares Sabrina Tabby, violinist of ATLYS. “The fourth graders are studying jazz, so we chose Dave Brubeck’s “Unsquare Dance,” and the fifth graders learn about Latin music, so we decided to do “Señorita” by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.”
These interactive 45-minute classes were successful thanks to the behind-the-scenes work done by Laurie Williams. “We were able to do these activities because of how involved Laurie was willing to be,” explains Tabby. “She downloaded all of the performance videos to practice the percussion parts with the students before the class, and uploaded the recordings and pictures after.”
The students, seated six feet apart from one another and masked, followed along with the activities enthusiastically. They danced in their chairs and synchronized their percussive play-along performance, and did not let a minute go to waste when it was time for the Q&A portion. Students showed fascination with the quartet’s level of performance, and asked questions about when the members started their instruments, how long they practiced each day, and if they thought it was too late for them to start learning an instrument. They were eager to show off their coloring artwork on camera. These classroom interactions were a perfect reminder to the quartet and to the Geneva Music Festival of our mission and purpose in providing outreach opportunities: to inspire our audiences to nurture a lifelong appreciation for music.
Looking ahead to the 2021 Geneva Music Festival, ATLYS will present a concert on Thursday, May 20, 2021 entitled An Atlas of ATLYS.
“In 2019, we took you on a journey around the world through our music. This year, we’re going to take you on a journey in our shoes. This is the music that has shaped us, some of our all-time favorites, and some first-time ever ATLYS original compositions telling our unique story through music.”
To follow ATLYS and their activities, visit their website on www.atlysmusic.com.
More information about the quartet and future GMF events is available on www.genevamusicfestival.com.