Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Art and music merge at symphony's season finale

When James Brunelle, 15, first heard Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" last week, the music struck him as "dark and drab," he said, a feeling he tried to capture in a drawing of a woman's hand draped over an elaborately carved chair...

Schroeder Middle School eighth-grader Crystal McFarland touches up a chalk drawing she created after hearing an excerpt from the musical composition, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” as part of a project with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. (Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)
Schroeder Middle School eighth-grader Crystal McFarland touches up a chalk drawing she created after hearing an excerpt from the musical composition, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” as part of a project with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. (Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)

When James Brunelle, 15, first heard Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" last week, the music struck him as "dark and drab," he said, a feeling he tried to capture in a drawing of a woman's hand draped over an elaborately carved chair and holding a fan.

The Schroeder Middle School student and others in local schools were invited to create a piece of art as they listened to excerpts from "Pictures at an Exhibition" as part of a project with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra.

"Pictures at an Exhibition" will be performed during the symphony's final concert of the season May 7 at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks.

Pictures by his friend Viktor Hartmann inspired the Russian composer Mussorgsky to write the famous piece, published in 1886, and now that composition has inspired the young art students-like Brunelle and his classmates.

The music was "light-hearted, it reminded me of dolphins," said Ashley Welch, 14, explaining the picture of dolphins leaping above sunset-lit waters that she created while listening to the composition.

ADVERTISEMENT

For Crystal McFarland, 13, the music "had really playful feel" that made her think of kids playing outside, she said. She drew a pastoral scene with an elegantly dressed woman seated under a tree, watching her children at play on the lawn of a chapel.

Art teacher Barb Solway welcomed the chance to encourage her students to take an unusual approach to creating art.

"I had them put their heads down and close their eyes" while listening to excerpts from the composition, she said.

Inspired by "their own ideas, some of the different things they came up with are just amazing."

"It's been interesting, because they rely so much on their computers," she said. "This time they have to rely on their imaginations."

Solway has taught art for 23 years.

"You have to find different ways to reel them in," she said.

The project introduces the students to new experiences, Solway said, and is "a way for them to be part of the community."

ADVERTISEMENT

About 75 pieces are expected to be selected for display at the Empire on the day of the concert, said Janice Hoffarth, the symphony's executive director. Students whose art is chosen will each receive two tickets to the concert.

Tickets for the concert, set for 2:30 p.m. May 7, are $25 or $15 for student and military with identification. They may be purchased in advance at www.empireartscenter.com or at the door.

Wyatt Peterson, an eighth-grader at Schroeder Middle School, puts the finishing touches on his drawing, inspired by the musical composition, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” as part of a project with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. (Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)
Wyatt Peterson, an eighth-grader at Schroeder Middle School, puts the finishing touches on his drawing, inspired by the musical composition, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” as part of a project with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. (Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)

Related Topics: GFH INSTAGRAM
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
What To Read Next
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.