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Off key and Happy

Adella Birdwell, 13, plays The Star Wars theme on violin for a tent full of guest and volunteers. Star Wars is Adella's favorite movies. She's seen them all twice. (photo by Brian Hayes)
Adella Birdwell, 13, plays The Star Wars theme on violin for a tent full of guest and volunteers. Star Wars is Adella’s favorite movies. She’s seen them all twice.
(photo by Brian Hayes)

Young and Old Find Joy at the Instrument Petting Zoo

By Brian Hayes

In a blissful prairie, rolling hills and vast expanses in every direction, with so much space the crowd of 7,000 is a low murmur. A gleeful ruckus springs out of the smallest tent at the 11th annual Symphony in the Flint Hills. Out-of-tune strings and happy faces are abundant at the Instrument petting zoo.

Mary Ann Wieczkowski plays "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on cello in the intrument petting zoo. The instrument petting zoo allowed concert-goers a chance to play a variety of classic and folk instruments. (photo by Brian Hayes)
Mary Ann Wieczkowski plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on cello in the intrument petting zoo. The instrument petting zoo allowed concert-goers a chance to play a variety of classic and folk instruments.
(photo by Brian Hayes)

Education is one of the core values of the Symphony. They aim to educate people about conservation of the tallgrass prairie and music education. The instrument petting zoo allows people of all ages to learn about the instruments that the Kansas City Symphony orchestra play, as well as traditional folk instruments.

The tent has knowledgeable volunteers that show people how to play a few chords on any of the several instruments that are on display under the tent.

Abby Triemer, volunteer, plays the harps and is a trained opera singer. She informs the guest on the importance of early music education. A child involved with music is more likely to be more engaged in other subjects, she said.Adella Birdwell, 13, from Kansas City, Kansas, said, “This tent is fun because it shows people different kinds of instruments. I just love it. This is my dream right here.”

Seated in the corner behind a cello, Mary Anne Wieczkowski beams as she relives playing as a young girl. She draws the bow across the string, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” comes out of the instrument. She smiles from ear to ear, and the whole tent claps for her impromptu performance.