Giant instrument just part of fun in this free arts program

Miami University Middletown’s Fantastic Free Fridays series will kick off the fall 2017 season on Friday, Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. with a performance by Lawler + Fadoul at Dave Finkelman Auditorium. The duo featuring Zara Lawler (flutist) and Paul Fadoul (marimbist) will bring “Break It Down!” to audiences in Southwest Ohio.

The Fantastic Free Friday programs are designed to allow students and others in the community to experience performing arts firsthand through a variety of performances, including music, theater, dance and more. We spoke with Zara Lawler of Lawler + Fadoul to find out what audiences can expect from their show.

Q: Can you begin by telling us about Lawler + Fadoul?

A: “We have been playing together as a duo for more than 10 years. We met when we were both in a group called Tales & Scales, which was dedicated to doing new music and theater for children and family audiences. We started playing as a duo on the side, but since we had that history of playing for kids, playing for kids has always been a part of what we do. Now, we are part of the education department of the National Symphony Orchestra, which is based at the Kennedy Center. So, the performance we are doing for Fantastic Free Fridays is a program we developed for the Kennedy Center, and now we are excited to be bringing it to a wider audience outside of the Washington, D.C., area. We are a flute and percussion duo, so I play flute and other members of the flute family – piccolo and alto flute, and my duo partner, Paul, mostly plays the marimba, which is kind of like a giant xylophone. He also plays other percussion instruments, like the drums.”

Q: How long have you been touring with “Break It Down!” What’s it like?

A: “About five years…The number one question that kids and adults ask us after every single performance is ‘How did you get that marimba here?’ If you look at a picture of the marimba, you’ll see it’s a big instrument. You can see that in our videos as well. The marimba comes apart in different parts, and the flute comes apart as well, and we realized that music can come apart, too. So, we designed the whole program around this idea of instruments and music coming apart, and being put back together again.”

Q: Can you walk us through a typical performance? What can we expect?

A: “We start with music. We play a piece together, and do a little bit of choreography with it that’s fun. Then, we introduce ourselves and our instruments, and we talk about how music and musical instruments can come apart and go back together again. There’s an educational component, and we try to keep that part interactive, fun and fast-paced. Then, the second half of the program, we tell a story with music. So, we act out a story about two toys that have been thrown in the trash, and how they go around trying to find all their missing parts, and putting themselves back together again. It’s a way for the kids to see the (concepts) they learned in the educational section of the show, put into practice in a story… Little by little, we build music up from its little parts into a bigger whole. The kids get to see that happening and they get to participate. We have a sing-along and a clap-along. It’s a very interactive show.”

Four programs are scheduled for this fall, beginning with Lawler + Fadoul’s “Break It Down!” on Friday, Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. The series will continue on Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. with David Hennig’s “The Magic is in You” and the Cultural Centre of India’s “Dances of India” on Friday, Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. The fall season will close on Friday, Dec. 1 with a holiday production, “Celebrate the Season,” performed by The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. (There are two performances scheduled for the Friday, Dec. 1 event – at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.)


What: Lawler + Fadoul present "Break It Down!"

When: Friday, Sept. 22 at 10 a.m.

Where: Dave Finkelman Auditorium, Miami University Middletown, 4200 N. University Blvd.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

More info: To reserve group seats, or for more information, contact Shawn Fenton at Individual walk-ins are welcome. Study guides for "Break It Down!" are available by contacting Shawn Fenton. This performance runs about 50 minutes, without an intermission.

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