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Language Beyond Words

Exclusive ensemble troupe instructs McLean youngsters in alternative storytelling

The nation’s only “musictelling” ensemble came to McLean this week to give musical instruction to area students. Tales and Scales uses music to ignite the imaginations of children while getting them to think about music and composition in new ways. Music, stories, dance and theater are fused for the “musictelling” experience.

Kathy Herr, the director of youth programs at the McLean Community Center, said, “This shows that we are having worthwhile programming right here in the community. We didn’t have to truck the kids all the way down to the Kennedy Center to enjoy something like this.

“Hopefully, this creates a love of the instruments and teaches them the fact that you can tell a story in so many ways,” said Herr.

The program was made possible through a gift by a music lover in the community. “We will have more next year. This year we decided to offer it to first-, second- and third-grade students. We’d like to see that expanded next year,” said Herr.

MCC spokesperson Sabrina Anwah said, “Tales and Scales is a great program. We are fortunate to be able to offer it here.”

Anwah said the program, along with two others, was made possible because of a donation by Harry Ormston of McLean. “He wanted this money to be used in memory of his late wife to further musical education for children,” said Anwah. Ormston left $51,741.96 to MCC, which created two musical residency programs (one being Tales and Scales) and a musical class for special-education children in the community.

Herr said an example of what the children learned is how theme music creates emotion. “Adults can hear theme music in a movie and know something scary is about to happen. It’s like that,” said Herr.

First- through third-grade students from Spring Hill, Haycock, Churchill Road and Kent Gardens elementary schools attended the performance and workshop.