GetClassical In School First School Visit @ Kappa International High School In The Bronx

German soprano Katrin Bulke joined us in our first school visit with accompanist James Besser, at Kappa International High School in the Bronx. After checking security, we were introduced to Prof. Colin Harte’s keyboard lab’s class, by FFRCC’s Jose Vega.

It’s not that easy to stand in a classroom and start singing operatic tunes to an unprepared audience. But within the first couple of minutes Katrin Bulke’s charismatic personality and beautiful voice took – at least most of the – listeners to never before entered territory; to the stages of German and Italian opera.

James Besser on the school’s upright piano could not have been a better accompanist, both at the piano – including some of the kids’ in four- hand collaborations, and in leading parts of the session with his insightful observations. “Sitting at the piano together just now, made it clear how music can connect us. We were strangers before, different age, yet sharing the one keyboard, having to rely on the cooperation of the other, started a friendship,” he remarked. Emotions in the music were discussed, as students started participating. With pedagogical authority, Besser analyzed the emotions heard in performance to the kids’ own experiences…and suddenly the portrayed roles, did not appear as removed, as kids related to the way they were expressed. It’s not with certainty to say if it was sharing the stage with some of the young, budding pianists or his own rendering of a section of Mendelsohn’s Song without Words, that will be more inspiring to some members of this audience, but the feedback we received from Prof. Colin Harte was:” Thank you for the wonderful visit! The students enjoyed hearing master musicians perform.”