The Alabama Symphony plays dreamy music

Published 4:18 pm Monday, June 6, 2011

Mrs. Hermencz’s fifth grade students at Elvin Hill Elementary in Columbiana on their way to the Alabama Symphony. (Front, l-r) Megan Stancil, Anna Hill, Avery Leake, Sarah Ruth Lipscomb, Jacob Dover, Cole Jeffries, Dewey Joiner, Dillan Dorriety, Charlie Worsham. (Second row, l-r) Mrs. Hermencz (teacher), Zakaria Montgomery, Sarah Head, Shaterika Simon, Jennifer Harrison, Georgia Budding, Ashlyn Blankenship, Dontavius Mayfield, Alex Barnett, Corbin Hillman, Trent Sullivan, JC Parker, Cameron Littlefield, Jaryd Pemberton, Katie Horton (student teacher, UM.) (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Thanks to the Shelby County Arts Council and the generous grant from the University of Montevallo Foundation, 500 students from Shelby County schools attended the Alabama Symphony “Dream Out Loud” concert at Palmer Hall at the university.

Seventy students from Vincent Elementary, 99 students from Elvin Hill Elementary, 41 students from Wilsonville Elementary, 116 students from Montevallo Elementary and 174 students from Calera Middle attended the program that explored concrete and abstract dreams through music.

The students’ teachers were given a “Concert Study Guide” prior to the concert, which included a diagram of the orchestra seating chart, list of musicians and instruments that they play.

Teachers were able to download the music to play ahead in class and ask the students questions about what they heard. Some of the “dream” works played were: Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; Sir Edward Elgar’s “Dream Children”; Hector Berlioz’s “Dream of the Witches Sabbath”; Charles Ives’ “The Unanswered Question”; and Mark Phillips’ “Lullaby” from “Dreams Interrupted.”

Students were given “What’s in a Dream” worksheets that challenged them to think about the music. They were asked to write about one of their dreams; what they like to day dream about; a dream or goal in their life; and what would be a dream come true.

Mrs. Mindy Hermencz’s fifth grade class at Elvin Hill prepared for their symphony visit by listening to the “dreamy” music and answered thoughtfully their dream-filled questionnaires.

“Most of my students have never been to a symphony,” said Hermencz. “I feel it is important to expose students to art and music.” Her motto is “to teach is to touch a life forever!”

“My greatest dream is to become a black belt,” wrote student Corbin Hillman. “I daydream about erasers having abilities to do things and talk. I thought hearing the music was cool!”

Several of Hermencz’s students play instruments: Alex Barnett and Corbin Hillman play the guitar; Doug Joiner plays the harmonica; and Anna Hill plays the violin.”

Hermencz said the concert was a huge success.

“It was very interactive and the students enjoyed the music,” Hermencz said. “A lot of them discussed wanting to play an instrument as well, especially the violin. They especially loved the first part of the concert when they played the theme song from E.T. It was great! Thanks to the Shelby County Arts Council for this wonderful opportunity.”

Clarification: Do you ever have a senior moment? Well, I had a huge one last week. Columbiana’s wonderful chief of police is Lamar Vick, not Raymond Vick. I greatly apologize for this error. Raymond, you got a huge promotion last week!

Also, Music on Main Street band dates: June 10 Shinbone Ridge; June 17 SCHS Reunion with Back in Time; June 24 Liberty Day; July 8 ELVIS!

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by email at

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

email author More by Phoebe Donald