Dozens of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students at Franklin School were treated to a private concert with a special guest Thursday.

Classical violinist Augustin Hadelich shared special tunes with children at the Santa Barbara school before his performances at The Granada on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s all part of the symphony’s Musical Mentors program, which for the past five years has created interaction between the musicians and the community.

“We’re able to contract the performers to come in a few days before the performance and interact with community,” said John Robinson, executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony.

The musician gives a special performance at a local school, allowing the children to ask questions between pieces. Another key element of the program is giving each child two tickets — one for each of them and one for a parent — to see the musician perform.

“We hope that children will go with a family member and feel a connection to the musician after meeting them,” Robinson said.

Hadelich will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at The Granada. Click here to purchase tickets.

Past performers at local schools have included violinist Jenny Koh and Norweigan clarinetist Hakan Rosengren. Cellist Zuill Bailey played for Girls Inc. earlier this year.

Students listen intently to violinist Augustin Hadelich's skillful playing.

Students listen intently to violinist Augustin Hadelich’s skillful playing. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

On Thursday, Hadelich played two selections, by Johann Sebastian Bach and Niccolò Paganini, neither of which he will perform at The Granada.

After the Bach piece, students were asked how the song made them feel.

“Sleepy,” one said, while another said it reminded him of the Titanic.

In turn, the students asked Hadelich a range of questions, including whether he liked Michael Jackson. Hadelich said he did, and was asked about his favorite song.

“Thriller,” he said, to which the students cheered.

Hadelich shared with the children how he had been introduced to music, at age 5 while growing up with his family in Italy.

After the performance, as the students shuffled back to their classrooms, Hadelich shared why that type of interaction is important for young people.

“When I look around, there are always kids that are more interested than others in the music,” he said. “But if one child comes away with an interest to look into music further, it’s all totally worth it.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com.

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.