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Angeles County | Community News File / Westlake Village

Composer Gives an Instrumental Lesson

January 30, 1998

Composer John Zeretzke didn't utter a word for the first three minutes of his performance Thursday at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic School in Westlake Village. Instead, he entranced his audience with his drums.

The hand-held instruments from Ireland, North America and Africa, each creating a different sound, set the tone for Zeretzke's presentation, "A World of Music."

One of several performers who play for children as part of the "Music Center on Tour" program, Zeretzke took the fourth- through eighth-graders through centuries of musical instruments, using humor and the children's curiosity.

They saw, and in some cases played, instruments ranging from the earliest flutes carved from bamboo to the most modern electrical violin, which, under Zeretzke's hand, sounded like whales playing in the sea.

School Principal Jenny Long said she caught Zeretzke's act at a demonstration of Music Center performers and chose him because she was impressed with his ability to bring school subjects to life through the music.

Zeretzke, who also composes for films and modern ballets, said he performs with the Music Center program because it is important to ensure that music be a part of a child's education.

He said that he got bad grades as a student until he was introduced to something he did well, and he began playing the violin.

"I like to give back to the kids something that was important to me as a child," he said.

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