The Ying Quartet working

with High School Orchestra Students

Photo by News-Times Photographer Michael Duffy

Timothy Ying, of the Ying Quartet, talks to members of the Newtown High School Orchestra Christina Palmer, Tim Robinson, and Stephanie Davies.

Music Program strikes a chord
The News-Times - Saturday, November 25, 2000

Yearlong series brings professional musicians into the schools
By Sybil Blau

NEWTOWN – The Ying Quartet, three brothers and a sister, same to the Newtown High School Music department on Monday and conquered it. They conquered it with their instruments -- two violins, a viola and a cello -- and their charm. “I thought it was great,” said sophomore and cellist Chris Thibdeau. “Having them interact with us was really something special.” The quartet delighted senior Christina Palmer, who plays the violin. “They were very active and outgoing,“ she said, and interactive with the orchestra. They were very open-minded and listened to everyone. They showed a lot of passion for the music.”
Their appearance at a workshop for the school’s orchestra was underwritten by the Newtown Friends of Music, said the organization’s president, Ellen Parrella.
In celebration of its upcoming 23rd season, the Friends of Music has embarked on an outreach program in conjunction with two of its concerts. The effort enables local schoolchildren to learn firsthand about classical music and attend concerts at no cost. The Ying Quartet was the first professional group to participate in the program. Their concert took place Sunday, the day before the workshop.
“I’ve been trying to do this for years,” said department chair and music teacher Michelle Hiscavich. “It’s wonderful of the Friends of Music to do this.” “It’s a great opportunity for the kids,” Hiscavich said.
David Ying, who plays the cello, explained why he, his brothers and sister, pay attention to high school programs like this.
“I think anything we can do to support high school music programs, we like to do. It makes the kids feel what they’re doing is valuable.
“What’s also nice is that the Newtown Friends of Music is helping the school with its music program. It’s an example of the community working together that’s exciting.”
The students, who packed the music room, were just as excited.
“They inspired me in a way,” said Palmer, the violin playing senior who hopes to major in music performance and psychology in college.
The second outreach program, on April 17, will include middle school and high school children. A performance by the Alexander String Quartet will be held at Lockwood Lodge, the assisted living facility at ashlar of Newtown on Toddy Hill Road.
Three concerts remain to be performed in this season’s Newtown Friends of Music schedule. They are the Jacques Thibaud String Trio on Feb.25; Ole Akahoshi, cello, with pianist Elizabeth Sawyer-Parisot, on March 25; and on April 16, The Alexander String Quartet.