Stephanie's Heroes: Elizabeth Roberts

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

March 19, 2012

Elizabeth Roberts has been playing the bassoon since she was a child. When she's not performing or practicing for a concert with the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra, she's helping fill local classrooms with music.

“Arts budgets in schools are unfortunately getting cut left and right. And there are a huge amount of studies done over the years that show all the other subjects kids do better in if they have arts education, whether it's music, drama or dance,” she said.

That's what lead her to start an outreach program. She and several of her symphony members pack up their instruments and go into schools to work with local band and orchestra students.

“It's one of the most beautiful things in life, being able to help another human being get better at something they're trying to do,” said Roberts.

She and her symphony members are hosting what they call a “musical petting zoo", an opportunity for children to come out and try different instruments. It will be Sunday, March 25 at Monticello High School from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Roberts says these lessons and master classes are key to helping students play better.

“They might be sitting there like 'Oh my gosh, what's wrong with me? I cant play this,' and then you go in and show them the tricks of the trade. And all of a sudden they can do so much better because someone helped them with it,” she explained.

Over the years, Roberts and her team have helped middle and high schoolers grow as musicians, and they also introduced elementary school students to different instruments.

“We'll go into the elementary schools and then sometimes a few years later I'll get a phone call from some kid who says, 'Hey I'm in 5th grade at such and such a school I'm just starting to study the bassoon and I remember when you came to my school in the second grade,'” said Roberts.

For Roberts, that's what it's all about, inspiring kids and teens pick up a positive hobby and appreciate the arts.

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