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Wayland Resident Brings 'Marimba Magic' to Life (Video)

Sarah Tenney teaches marimba to kids as young as 5 at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston.

Sarah Tenney didn't take up playing marimba until she was well into her college years, but she's dedicated her teaching to ensuring others experience the instrument many years earlier.

Tenney, a Wayland resident, has taught children as young as 5 how to play the marimba, a keyboard instrument in the xylophone family that rose to prominence in the United States in the early 1900s.

The instrument itself probably traces its roots to Africa, Tenney said, and, in the Western Hemisphere, was first documented in Guatemala where it remains a popular instrument.

For the past 30 years, Tenney has brought marimba instruction to students at in Weston. She created her Marimba Magic class at the conservatory and teaches lessons each week to students from communities throughout the area.

Currently, Tenney is preparing her Marimba Magic students to perform in the 19th Annual Family Concert with the professional contemporary music group Boston Musica Viva.

"It is such an honor to play with Boston Musica Viva," Tenney said. "To have my 10 students performing with them in February is just a dream come true."

This year, her students, including Wayland students Stephanie Steltzer, Tamara Lord and Mingle Li, will perform a world premiere of "The Tortoise and the Hare" by Patrick Greene as well as "The Piper's Tale" by Michael Gandolfi. The concert is Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center in Boston.

On Wednesday, Patch will feature a conversation with the Wayland performers who are preparing for the concert.

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