In early November, From the Top spent a whirlwind week in Texas with radio tapings and school visits in Waco and Dallas. From the Top alumni and brother and sister team Robbie, 18, violin, and Allie Switala, 16, violin from Grapevine, TX, launched our Texas road shows with a visit to Lakeview Middle School in Colony, TX.
Robbie and Allie gave a riveting performance of Mozart, Bach, and one of their personal favorites, the Handel-Halvorson Passacaglia (see them perform it on our television show), in front of 50 enraptured middle school orchestra students.
The Switalas talked about how much they love playing chamber music with their friends, and how being siblings definitely gives them an edge on the toughest part of ensemble playing – teamwork and communication. They put the students at ease answering questions between musical selections and even finishing each other’s sentences!
They agreed that playing both violin and viola made them better musicians and advised the students to practice slowly and approach the music measure by measure–not always fun, but really helpful and necessary.
Orchestra Teacher Beth Emert commented, “I love how personable everyone was. The question and answer element helped us remember that the musicians are real people with other passions, interests, and hobbies.”
The students were just as enthusiastic. “Everything was great! I wish we had more time to hang out with them!” said one student.
On Friday evening, November 13, Lakeview students attended the From the Top taping at the new Winspear Opera House at the AT& T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, where they got to cheer on another group of fantastic, young musicians.