Skaneateles' young have fun with Imani Winds

They danced, acted, joked and even hummed a little. We're talking about the five members of Imani Winds, that is.

To take in the sight and sounds of the famed quintet, Skaneateles' young and young at heart joined together at the First Presbyterian Church to hear the group perform during first day of the Skaneateles Festival.

Festival Artistic Director David Ying welcomed the crowd that filled the church's Dobson Room for the Thursday, Aug. 7 "Music is Fun" program. The event with Imani Winds marked the opening of the 2008 Skaneateles Festival.

Mary Carello said she has been attending the Skaneateles Festival for years. This year, Carello brought her 7-month-old daughter Abigail to listen to the unique sounds of the Grammy-nominated quintet.

"They're a very hot group," Ying said when introducing the group. "Somebody told me they haven't been home in six weeks because so many people want to hear them play."

The quintet specializes in chamber music, which means there is no conductor and the musicians get to make their own decisions on the selections, explained bassoon player Monica Ellis. When Ellis asked who is the audience played certain instruments, there were few hands that hadn't been raised at least once.

"It's always nice to be playing for other musicians because you guys know what it's like to be up here doing your thing," Ellis told the crowd.

Throughout the hour-long program, each of the members introduced children and adults to the instruments they play, demonstrating how their musical device sounds with and without its crucial components, like reeds for the woodwinds.

The French horn is quite different from the woodwinds and doesn't require a reed. But, without a reed, musician Jeff Scott needs to be able to somehow control the vibrations traveling through the horn as he blows into the mouthpiece.

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