Tallahassee Students Put on Production of "Peanuts Gallery"

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, a composer, says, "Kids are natural musicians. They have a natural affinity for it and it's a shame that they don't have more models like Maclay for music education for our youngsters, because it's an enrichment of life that's so important."

Twenty Maclay School students got a visit Thursday from Dr. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the composer of "Peanuts Gallery." The Pulitzer Prize winner's composition is based on Charles Schulz's famous cartoon characters.

Sarah Garvin, a fourth grader at Maclay School, says, "It was fun because we got to hear the music and then meet the person who wrote the music. It was really cool because we got to hear what other kids thought, then what she thought herself."

Bruce Foster, also a fourth grader, adds, "Today was inspiring for people that play an instrument and want to learn how to write music."

The fourth through sixth graders will appear on a "Peanuts Gallery" video. The taping will air on PBS and be distributed on DVD.

Karen Willes, a music teacher at Maclay School, says, "Having Dr. Zwilich at Maclay is a very special opportunity for all of us, our students, as well as everyone here at Maclay."

"Peanuts Gallery" premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1997. The composition has never been professionally recorded.

There will be a closed taping for the video with a full orchestra Saturday at FSU's Opperman Music Hall. Mrs. Jean Schulz, the "Peanuts" cartoonist's widow, is in Tallahassee this week and will appear in the video.