Quartet reaches out to the community

Devin Burke

While every orchestra concert is for the community, if the same faces keep coming it can seem like an exclusive event.
That’s where the Veritas String Quartet comes in. For 2002-2003, they have won the right to represent the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra as the Community Outreach Resident Ensemble (CORE).
The ensemble’s mission is to “get people excited about orchestra concerts and to get more people to come to the concerts who haven’t been before, especially young people,” says John Zion, violinist for the Veritas Quartet.
Over the course of this year, the quartet will visit six local schools and the Heritage Retirement Community in Appleton. For each visit, the quartet prepares an hour-long program that usually educates as well as previews the upcoming orchestra concert.
The members of the Veritas Quartet are Courtney J. Miller, violin; Zion; Melissa Taylor, viola; and Paul Wolfram, cello. Each member receives a 500 dollar fellowship to support the time they put in and resources for their presentations.
In terms of the commitment that the job requires, Miller said “we have to rehearse more than usual because we have to prepare an hour-long program. In addition to preparing the music, we also have to write out a script to present the pieces.” The quartet uses stories and other ways of involving the audience that will interest non-musicians and help illuminate what to listen for in their performance.
At the end of the year, the ensemble has to play a full recital in Harper Hall. Until then, their next performances are Nov. 20 at Tullar Elementary School in Neenah and Dec. 4 for the Heritage Retirement Community.
“I’d say the experience is worth it,” says Miller.