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Heart Strings

November 15, 1990|ANITA M. CAL

At one end of the room sat the performers, numbering about 20, students from an exclusive private school in Santa Monica.

Opposite them, seated or sprawled on the floor, were about 200 children from Ninth Street Elementary School, located in the heart of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

Thus did two worlds meet on Tuesday when the Crossroads Middle School String Orchestra gave a midday concert at Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit art center on Skid Row that serves children from four downtown elementary schools.

The concert consisted of four short pieces performed by a renowned youth orchestra that has performed with the likes of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

In the photo at far right, Owen Lee, playing the double bass, watches conductor James Forward while performing one of the pieces, and at right, Yereni Flores listens intently.

The concert was organized by Da Camera Society of Mount St. Mary's College as part of an effort to help students from diverse economic backgrounds bridge ethnic and cultural gaps through the arts.

The program included works by Handel and Telemann that conductor Forward said were chosen because they would contrast with the fast-paced music the inner-city students encountered on the street.

After one piece, Alan Hovhaness' "Prayer of Saint Gregory," Forward asked the listeners, "How did the song make you feel?"

"It made me feel gooooooood, " answered one student, whose response made the others chuckle.

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