Group of Pawtucket ele­men­tary stu­dents show off their vi­o­lin vir­tu­os­ity at McCoy

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN BIS­SON­NETTE jbis­son­[email protected]­tuck­et­

PAWTUCKET – From the di­a­mond in­side the ball­park where the most com­mon sounds are the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd, a group of Agnes E. Lit­tle Ele­men­tary School stu­dents trans­formed McCoy Sta­dium into a scene out of the Rhode Is­land Phil­har­monic, as the stu­dent string or­ches­tra and cho­rus per­formed the Na­tional Anthem prior to a game this week.

The per­for­mance was through a part­ner­ship be­tween the ele­men­tary school and the Rhode Is­land Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra through the “Vic­to­ria’s Dream Project.” The pro­gram pro­vides chil­dren with the op­por­tu­nity to ac­cess qual­ity mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion and is named af­ter Vic­to­ria Alviti, who was 22 when she died in a car ac­ci­dent in Au­gust 2011.

An­nette Moz­zoni, direc­tor of ed­u­ca­tion and mu­sic school with the Rhode Is­land Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra Mu­sic School, said that prior to Wed­nes­day’s per­for­mance on the in­field grass at

McCoy Sta­dium, the 30 stu­dents had been prac­tic­ing their string in­stru­ments three times per week with Phil­har­monic ed­u­ca­tors. Their pre-game show on Wed­nes­day morn­ing was their third of four pri­mary per­for­mances.

“They’re so ex­cited and they’re play­ing beau­ti­fully,” Moz­zoni said prior to the stu­dents en­ter­ing the field. “Strings are an in­cred­i­bly chal­leng­ing in­stru­ment. But through great teach­ing three hours ev­ery week, it’s pay­ing off.”

Sharon Alviti, a Smith­field res­i­dent and Vic­to­ria Alviti’s mother, said that her daugh­ter’s last wish was to en­sure that mu­sic stayed in schools. Vic­to­ria was a pi­ano player, Sharon noted.

“Through an in­cred­i­ble part­ner­ship, we’re bring­ing mu­sic to schools,” Alviti said. “It’s in­valu­able.”

Moz­zoni said that one ex­am­ple of that in­valu­able part­ner­ship was seen in one par­tic­u­lar stu­dent at Agnes E. Lit­tle. She said that she spoke with a par­ent two weeks ago who said that her son was par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram and it “com­pletely changed his life.”

The boy now wants to come to school ev­ery day and he has im­proved his fo­cus and grades in the class­room, she added.

When stu­dents learn an in­stru­ment, par­tic­u­larly one as chal­leng­ing as a string in­stru­ment, they can be ini­tially dis­cour­aged, Moz­zoni said, but through hard work and the out­come of the goal of per­form­ing in front of oth­ers, they learn valu­able life lessons.

Moz­zoni added that it was “so in­spir­ing to have school sup­port” for the project. She said that the city and school of­fi­cials have pitched in to en­sure that the stu­dent per­for­mance at the sta­dium in the shadow of their ele­men­tary school was a pos­si­bil­ity. In­stru­ments are pro­vided at no cost to schools and stu­dents.

With mu­si­cal in­struc­tion, “you see a com­mu­nity thrive,” Alviti said.

The Agnes E. Lit­tle per­for­mance on Wed­nes­day morn­ing was part of a pilot pro­gram of 30 string in­stru­ments through the part­ner­ship with the Rhode Is­land Phil­har­monic and Vic­to­ria’s Dream Project. With the help of bene­fac­tors, they are hop­ing to find sus­tain­able fund­ing to ex­pand and at­tract other area schools and stu­dents.

Af­ter the stu­dents’ per­for­mance on the McCoy field and a rous­ing ap­plause from the fans in at­ten­dance, as the chil­dren strolled off the field and to their seats in­side the ball­park, Moz­zoni said “they were spec­tac­u­lar!”

Alviti added “it was the most amaz­ing feel­ing, to see a child stand­ing with a smile on their face and a string in­stru­ment in their hand, know­ing they ac­com­plished some­thing.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Rhode Is­land Phil­har­monic’s web­site, goals of the Vic­to­ria’s Dream Project are to en­rich the lives of chil­dren re­gard­less of race or eco­nomic stand­ing, ef­fect real change on the cul­tural land­scape of the com­mu­nity, cre­ate di­ver­sity in the Phil­har­monic’s Youth En­sem­bles by de­vel­op­ing a com­pre­hen­sive in­stru­men­tal feeder pro­gram in an eth­ni­cally-di­verse com­mu­nity, and pro­vide a path­way for chil­dren to be ac­cepted at Pawtucket’s Jac­que­line M. Walsh School for the Per­form­ing and Vis­ual Arts.

Photo by Ernest A. Brown

Stu­dents from Agnes E. Lit­tle Ele­men­tary School in Pawtucket per­form the Na­tional Anthem on vi­o­lins at McCoy Sta­dium.

Photo by Ernest A. Brown

Stu­dents from Agnes E. Lit­tle Ele­men­tary School in Pawtucket per­form the Na­tional Anthem on vi­o­lins at McCoy Sta­dium.

Photo by Jonathan Bis­son­nette

Stu­dents from the Agnes E. Lit­tle Ele­men­tary School in Pawtucket sing the Na­tional Anthem be­fore the start of the Pawtucket Red Sox Day Game against the Scran­ton WilkesBarre RailRiders at McCoy Sta­dium Wed­nes­day.

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