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Children’s Orchestra plays Queens premiere

The Children’s Orchestra Society announced that its Young Symphonic Ensemble, with 80 advanced musicians, will present the world premiere of “The Little Park Across the Street,” at Colden Auditorium, Queens College, on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Gregg Whiteside, on-air host of 96.3 FM WQXR’s morning show, "Bright and Early," will narrate. The concert, final in the orchestra's KidsConcerts series, will also include Copland’s “Hoe Down,” Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and Stokowski’s arrangement of Bach’s Grand Fugue, performed by all four Children’s Orchestra Society orchestras with more than 150 musicians.

Now in its 33rd season, Children’s Orchestra Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to teaching children the language of music. “Our child-centered teaching approach is unique,” said Executive Director Yeou-Cheng Ma, daughter of the orchestra’s late founder, H.T. Ma. “We offer each member invaluable experience. Each child enjoys the benefits of music making in a friendly and supportive environment.”

“Our goal,” said Children’s Orchestra Society music director and conductor Michael Dadap “is to teach children and young adults to play classical music. We give them the opportunity to perform in orchestral and chamber music concerts with well-established musicians as well as their peers.”

Children’s Orchestra Society creates professional performing opportunities and provides role models for children while involving them with their community through performances for civic and cultural groups. From a fledgling group of 35 string players in 1984, the orchestra today has more than 200 students, with three orchestras and 25 chamber music groups.

Michael Valenti wrote the music for “The Little Park Across the Street.” He has written extensively for Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including his “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” written in collaboration with Elsa Okon Rael, which is still the longest running children’s musical ever produced in New York.

Elsa Okon Rael wrote the book for “The Little Park Across the Street.” Her eight plays for young audiences were recognized by Billboard Magazine with a special citation for excellence in writing for children. Rael is currently president of the Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts and Media, and serves on the executive board of The League of Professional Theatre Women.

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