Grosse Pointer Sharon Wood Sparrow has been playing flute with the DSO for 13 years.
To the layperson it may hardly seem like a job—playing music sounds like pure fun in many ways—but she says it’s definitely work. They’re learning new programs 42 weeks of the year, with four rehearsals and four concerts each week. Of course, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sparrow will be playing to neighbors this weekend when the Detroit Symphony Orchestra presents a two concerts in the Pointes—in Grosse Pointe Woods and Sunday afternoon at . She says the concerts' program, with music by Benjamin Britten, Georges Bizet and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is bright and charming—perfect for spring.
Sparrow said she came to music early. At age 4 she began taking piano lessons. In middle school she wanted to join the band, with eyes on percussion, but being a girl, that wasn’t an option. She then decided on flute. When asked if she ever wonders about that path not taken, she says she has no regrets—“there’s no going back”—but jokes, “maybe they’ll let me play the triangle one day.”
Music runs in the family, too. Her daughter Hannah is a vocal music education major at the University of Michigan, and her son, Zachary, a senior at , plays drums, bass and guitar. But, Sparrow adds, he’s intent on studying film at Central Michigan University.
They’ve enjoyed making music together, too. Sparrow says they’ve even recorded their own Christmas CDs to hand out as gifts to friends and family.
Sparrow’s musical passion extends to teaching and mentoring children in schools and various organizations. She says she feels a strong bond teaching children and finds that a musical education gives kids a real boost in learning. (Studies, after all, show it helps with cognitive development, academic success and more—remember VH1’s Save the Music?)
This weekend’s shows featured conductor Elizabeth Schultze and include two orchestral suites by British composer Britten, inspired by Rossini; Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto; and Bizet’s Symphony in C. “I fell in love with it the first time I heard it,” says Sparrow of the Bizet piece. “It’s all light classical music ... no one can not like this piece.”
Especially joyful for her is that these two shows are so close to home. “(The Grosse Pointes have) such great, warm audiences,” she said.
- will be held 8 p.m. Friday at First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, 800 Vernier, Grosse Pointe Woods. Tickets begin at $25.
- The second program takes place 3 p.m. Sunday at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Woods. Tickets begin at $25.
The concert at First English Evangelical is new territory for Sparrow. She says she’s never played there before so it’ll be interesting to discover how the acoustics play out. She's performed many times at Grosse Pointe Memorial, however, and says is a treat to play, with its great sound.
For more on the DSO, including tickets and upcoming concerts, visit www.detroitsymphony.com