The Prelude String Orchestra, consisting of students in the 3rd through 8th grades at area schools, will play before Hilton Elementary students and parents this evening as part of an event called “Popsicle Playground”.

The theme is Celebrating the Year in Education. The event will be held on the Hilton School playground and is being sponsored by the Hilton PTO. President Sherri Osterman tells WHMI that many activities will be taking place in addition to the musical performance. The student orchestra is composed of elementary and middle school students from the Brighton, Howell, Hartland, Linden, Fenton, Lake Fenton and Holly public schools, plus several home-schooled students. Five members are from Brighton.

The orchestra holds practice sessions and rehearsals in a Fenton Area Schools facility, and members living outside the Fenton area are transported to practice sessions by their parents. Director Lisa Bayer says she started the group because so many school districts around the country have discontinued their orchestra programs, and she thought it important that students continue to have the mentally stimulating and fulfilling aspects of an orchestral program. Osterman says that in addition to the live music, activities include free popsicles, a free Lego pit, chalk art, and a student art display.

In addition, Tim Thurmond, who holds a world record in the creation of balloon sculptures, will create a life-size animal out of balloons. Plus, the orchestra will bring several instruments along for kids to try out. The orchestra, divided into beginners and intermediate groups, will perform medleys from the Harry Potter movies, the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. Bayer says the event is particularly significant since the Brighton Area Schools will be starting its own orchestra program in the fall, beginning with the 5th and 6th grades. (TT)