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Philharmonic Plans ‘Sound, Science’ At Schools

POTTSTOWN PA – What educators foresee as an exciting program for Pottsgrove and Pottstown school students, which explores the science of how musical sounds are created and then uses that learning to introduce sections of an orchestra, debuted Monday night (July 10, 2017) to local supporters of the Pennsylvania Philharmonic during a reception and performance at Steel River Playhouse.

“Soundsational Science” uses the Philharmonic’s full symphony orchestra to demonstrate how sound is made across string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, Music Director Michael Butterman (at top) explained. By showing how the physical size, length, and construction of each instrument affects its sound, children in grades 4-8 can learn concepts of timbre, frequency, and intensity.

To help make his point Butterman called on Guy McIntosh, the organization’s director of marketing and public relations. Like almost everyone else in the Philharmonic, McIntosh wears two hats; he also plays several brass instruments. The two assembled a common household funnel, a 10-foot length of plastic tubing, and a horn mouthpiece, then used the contraption to create a range of musical notes.

The audience laughed and applauded as McIntosh blared the makeshift horn, but Butterman noted the intersection of science and music was important content that would fit neatly into corresponding lessons in the schools’ variety of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics classes.

Students at Pottsgrove Middle School last enjoyed the Philharmonic during an October 2016 program in which their iPads played both musical and artistic roles. And retired Pottsgrove music teacher Kathy Williams, who has been an advocate of the Philharmonic’s mission, last April served as the orchestra’s guest conductor during a film music program at Pottstown High School.

Philharmonic Plans 'Sound, Science' At Schools

Members of a brass quintet (above), performing for about 60 people on Steel River’s main stage, 245 E. High St., played several selections from the Philharmonic’s 2017-2018 seasonal program, “Bourbon Street To Bernstein.” The event served up New Orleans-style appetizers and included a bourbon tasting for those inclined to do some smooth sipping.

Ticket packages for the coming season are now available, here.

Photos by The Post Publications

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