VALDOSTA -- Logan Gibson, 8, pulled the bow across the strings of the upright bass. The bass' deep thrum joined the raucous sound of voices and other youngsters trying out numerous instruments at Saturday's Tunes for Tots.

The bass towered beside Logan, but Todd Markey of Valdosta State University's music department helped the youngster. Markey gave quick pointers to the Moulton-Branch Elementary School student as his VSU colleagues allowed children to experiment with dozens of musical instruments in the crowded hallway of the university's science building.

For the past eight years, the Valdosta Symphony Guild's Tunes for Tots has provided local youngsters with an orientation to the world of orchestral music. Saturday's event opened in the science building's auditorium. Numerous VSU music instructors, who also perform with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, explained how each instrument worked and played a few bars to demonstrate the individual tones. Trumpet, cornet, violin, drums, clarinet ... Each instrument had a moment in the spotlight before another one was featured. During this opening segment, Todd Markey's upright bass caught Logan Gibson's attention.

Following the demonstration, youngsters were allowed hands-on time with the instruments. Logan said he wanted to try his hand at the bass because he liked its sound. Shirley Gibson, Logan's grandmother, accompanied him to Tunes for Tots. She says Logan has an interest in music and she hopes to encourage it.

That's part of the event's purpose, said Jane Peeples, chairman of the Guild's Tunes for Tots. Organizers and musicians hope to inspire an interest in symphonic music at a young age, whether it's playing an instrument or appreciating the sounds.

Tunes for Tots also serves as an opportunity for the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra to introduce itself to the children's parents, too, and possibly interest them in the Symphony's season of concerts, said James Plondke, Valdosta Symphony conductor and music director. Along with the annual Tunes for Tots, the Valdosta Symphony also presents a series of Youth Concerts for school children throughout the year, which feature many of the same works presented in the orchestra's evening concerts.

To wrap the event, youngsters and their parents were treated to a concert performed by the Valdosta Symphony Youth Orchestra, which offered children an opportunity to see that playing a musical instrument can begin at a very young age.



To contact Dean Poling, please call 244-3400, ext. 258.











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