Young musicians create harmony with some very special guests

Many of the greatest classical musicians in the world routinely perform in New York City concert halls.

At a performance Saturday afternoon, they created some harmony with some very young and very talented partners.

They started rehearsing a full five hours before the performance.

That's on top of practicing for at least two hours every day.

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Children such as Wagner Montero receive free instruments and training
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These 58 kids are part of a program called Harmony that gives free instruments and training to children who would otherwise be unable to afford either. Ten-year-old Wagner Montero joined about a year ago. He nicknamed his cello "Lightning."

What is the hardest thing about playing the cello?

"For me, actually nothing," Wagner said.

It's easy?

"Yes," he said. "After you know everything, yes."

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The children play with world famous musicians such as Joshua Bell and Placido Domingo
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Less easy to believe are the world-renowned musicians the kids get to play with. Three months ago it was violinist Joshua Bell. Two years ago, conductor Placido Domingo. Saturday, they played with 10 members of the New York Philharmonic such as cellist Patrick Jee.

"It is all about meeting youngsters, basically the next generation of musicians, and trying to foster some kind of appreciation for what we do," Jee said.

Annie Fitzgibbon created the Harmony program six years ago for kids from third through seventh grade in New York. She said that getting the professional musicians to volunteer was easy because they know the impact music can have on a child.

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The Harmony program, created six years ago, is for kids from third through seventh grade
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"I think what is so important about music is that it does require of these kids discipline and structure and focus and all of these wonderful skills that they need to develop," she said.

Does she get a little nervous when the kids get on stage?

"I say I get more nervous than the children and I get more nervous than their parents," she said.

All the nerves and the hours of practice were worth it.

On Saturday, the kids from Harmony struck the right chord.

  • Vinita Nair

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