The Sound and Science of Music at the Sheldon


This spring has been full of fun outings for the Lower and Upper Elementary students at Villa di Maria. In mid-April, the entire Elementary ventured out on an all-day field trip to The Sheldon Concert Hall for their Sound and Science of Music presentation, followed by a picnic in Forest Park.


The Sheldon, named after Walter Sheldon (who founded the St. Louis branch of the Ethical Society), was designed by the noted 1904 World’s Fair architect Louis C. Spiering. The Sheldon opened its doors in 1912 as the home of the Ethical Society of St. Louis. The space is quite special, as the acoustics inside the concert hall have been deemed “perfect.”


Musicians and music lovers have been enjoying those perfect acoustics for over 100 years. The Sheldon Concert Hall has been called “The Carnegie Hall of the Midwest.” Sitting inside the concert hall has been compared to being inside of a perfectly-tuned instrument. It really is a special experience!


The presentation itself, The Sound and Science of Music, answers the questions, “What is sound?” and “How do instruments work?” by revealing the science behind the music all around us. The performers, Dan Rubright, Sandy Weltman, Farshid Soltanshahi & Feyza Eren, were engaging, funny, informative, and talented musicians and educators. They had no trouble holding the attention of an auditorium full of Elementary and Middle School children.


One particularly interesting part of the presentation was the discussion of open and closed air columns in music. For instance, a bottle is an example of a closed air column, as it has only one opening, whereas a straw is an example of an open air column. The students got a kick out of this video, which was shown during the presentation:

DSC_0141Above: a Chinese flute demonstration


The presentation was great, but most of the students’ favorite part of the day was the picnic and recess at Forest Park afterward, where they enjoyed the view while eating with friends, then took off down the hill as fast as their legs could carry them!


The children enjoyed running up and rolling down the huge hill, playing tag, and dipping their hands (and hair) into the reflecting pool at the bottom of the hill to cool off.


What is it about children and water?!


Parent, photographer, and chaperone, Jay, who accompanied the children with a cheerful and curious attitude.


Of course, we had to take a goofy group photo near the end of the field trip!


Thank you to The Sheldon, for a wonderful performance, and to the staff and parent volunteers who joined us on our class trip. It was a blast!