By Cary Dingel
As third- and fourth-grade students at C. Roy Carmichael Elementary in Portola settled themselves in the shade outside the cafeteria on Wednesday, May 24, two violinists and a double bass player casually warmed up for the coming performance, playing bits and pieces of melodies, drawing interested looks from the audience.
The trio is Time for Three, a 2023 Grammy-award winning classically trained string group, presenting the world premiere of their original composition “Through the Mountains.” Time for Three is nonprofit Musica Sierra’s artists-in-residence for the Musical Headwaters initiative which “commissions new works of music inspired by the Sierra Valley in order to bridge nature based education with the visual and performing arts and deepen children’s social and emotional connection to the earth,” as described on the Musica Sierra website.
Musica Sierra’s executive director Lindsay McIntosh introduced the group, explaining that the music the students would hear was inspired by the landscape and mammals of the Sierra Valley. As part of their outdoor education, Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) students focus on mammals in the third grade and often go on field trips to observe the local wildlife.
Charles Yang (violin, vocals), Nicolas “Nick” Kendall (violin, vocals), and Ranaan Meyer (double bass, vocals) of Time for Three gave a high-energy performance, ranging from ethereal vocals paired with lilting harmonies, to rollicking, bass-driven melodies evoking the movement of jackrabbits in the brush. They encouraged their audience to share observations about the music, with many students commenting on how each piece brought different emotions.
While the trio has performed in places like Carnegie Hall, they said CRC will become one of their favorite venues, due to the outside location and the student audience.
The performance closed out with a student-requested sing-along to a PUSD outdoor education favorite, Stand By Me. Students and staff sang and swayed to the tune while Yang carried the melody, accompanied by Kendall and Meyer, followed by an enthusiastic round of applause from all.