Westchester elementary students perform with famous violinist at Tarrytown festival


Violinist Mark O’ Conner preformed with Westchester elementary students as Dr. Jesse Henkensiefken conducted.

TARRYTOWN — Orchestra students from the towns of Chappaqua, Hartsdale, Mamaroneck, Ossining, Pelham and Pleasantville participated in the 2014 Ars Viva Center for Music String Extravaganza Festival at Tarrytown Music Hall on Feb. 8. The event featured famous violinist and multiple Grammy Award winner Mark O’Conner as the special guest.

Mr. O’Conner is a prominent American musician, composer, fiddler and improviser who is critically acclaimed for transforming classical American music into modern day music. The elementary students had a great opportunity to perform two music pieces with him: “Beautiful Skies” and “Boil Them Cabbage Down.”

Mr. O’Conner also gave some tips to parents and students. He emphasized that music is not just listening; it’s about creativity. Kids should go beyond learning classic forms of music and must be engaged in making music. He distributed free CDs and pamphlets.

Mr. O’Conner played “Concerto in D minor for Two Violins” and his original pieces “Rain Clouds,” “March of Pharaoh” and “Congress Hoedown” in collaboration with musicians Ms. Kelly Hall Tompkins and Ms. Tatiana Tessman, who are also renowned.

Dr. Jesse Henkensiefken the conductor for the concert, praised the students for  rendering a professional performance with only eight minutes of rehearsal time. He also thanked Ms. Marcia Bean, Colonial’s orchestra teacher, for collaborating and helping him organize the event.