Warnors Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Fresno was transformed Sunday into a musical laboratory for kids, giving them a rare chance to experiment with a variety of musical instruments -- including Warnors' massive theater organ.
More than 75 young musicians, ranging from 6 to 17, were greeted with the four-keyboard theater organ, a grand piano on stage and other instruments including violin, trumpet, trombone, flute, guitar and clarinet during Sunday's free event.
"We want children to have the exposure and the opportunity in case this is something they want to pursue in the future," said organizer Valeria Salcedo.
Volunteers -- made up of teachers and university students -- offered lessons to participants on the variety of instruments, as well as voice lessons. The event was sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley chapter of the American Guild of Organists and Music for Love.
Voice instructor Tiffanie Trujillo, 18, said the interaction she has with the children is what inspires her to volunteer her time.
"It's absolutely beautiful," she said. "Working with them and seeing them engage with music and be exposed to music is a new perspective for me."
Participants had the chance to play the organ, walk on stage to play the piano, then head downstairs to the backstage rooms, where the sessions took place.
David Reimer, 10, took a break from the lessons and got a tour of the pipes that make up the sound of the organ.
"It's so cool, you can hear them playing," David said. "It's so loud you can hear the vibrations."
David, who plays the trumpet, had the chance to try the clarinet and the saxophone for the first time.
"It's fun, but my favorite is still the trumpet," he said. "I have a feeling if I stick with it I can get really, really good."
His mother, Becky Reimer, said music is a must in a child's life.
"Music is just another thing that we all need to learn," she said. "For him to get a chance to try other instruments and have people teach him, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Gabriel Anderson, 12, has played the piano for seven years, but on Sunday he decided to try something new -- the four-keyboard organ.
"I liked how it would change the sound," he said. "The organ is much harder to try than the piano but it makes it more fun to try."
Gabriel's mother, Samantha Barbee, 31, said more events like Sunday's should be available to the community.
"Music is amazing for children," she said. " They have so many different instruments he might want to try."
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