NFSO hosts Carnegie Hall Link Up May 8 & 9 for 4th graders

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The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra (NFSO) presents its second annual 4th Graders concerts in conjunction with the Link Up program from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) on May 8 and 9 at 10:30 am in the mainstage theater of the Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.

The NFSO was the first orchestra in the region to offer this unique interactive music education experience for students in 2013 and last year’s program was received so well that the NFSO expanded in 2014 to include two concert events – this year reaching more than 1,600 youth from 17 area schools. In 2013, area students participated in the nationwide project for the first time when the NFSO and more than 1,300 area 4th grade students held the first Link Up interactive concert event.

The Carnegie Hall Link Up program pairs orchestras across the country with schools in their local communities, inviting them to learn about orchestral repertoire through a year-long hands-on music curriculum. Utilizing study guide materials provided by WMI, music teachers guide students in exploring music through a composer’s lens, with students participating in active music making in the classroom, performing repertoire on recorder, through song or with body percussion, and taking part in creative work such as composing their own pieces inspired by the orchestral music they have studied.

The culmination of the year-long program is a live performance in which students have the opportunity to play the recorder along with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in the magnificent Mattie Kelly Arts Center, a state-of-the-art fine and performing arts venue located on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College.

The program is provided free of charge by the NFSO for area students. In addition to these concerts being the first orchestral concert experience for many of the young students, the concerts provide youth the opportunity to apply the musical concepts they have studied in school and give them the pleasure of performing with the orchestra in certain pieces. They are not just members of the audience but an integral part of the music-making process, experiencing the joy of making music first hand.

For information contact NFSO education coordinator Lynne Sawyer at violynne@bellbouth.net or NFSO conductor Jeffrey Rink at 729-6065.

NFSO Maestro Jeffrey Rink will conduct the NFSO for the interactive 4th grader’s Carnegie Hall Link Up concerts and Dr. Jeremy Ribando, chair of the Northwest Florida State College Humanities, Fine & Performing Arts Division serves as the guide through this annual musical program, which also has a multi-media component highlighting many key elements about the music being performed and concepts the children studied in school.

The Carnegie Hall Link Up program is part of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra’s extensive and longstanding music education outreach endeavors that benefit area youth. In addition to the interactive 4th grade concerts, the orchestra has performed annual youth-focused concerts for Okaloosa and Walton County 5th Graders for more than 25 years. In 2013, area 5th graders enjoyed the regional premiere of “Legendary Florida: A Historical Portrait in Sound” which celebrated the 500th anniversary of Florida and in February 2014, 5th graders were treated to a full orchestral presentation of Prokovief’s delightful “Peter and the Wolf” narrated by NFSO conductor emeritus John Leatherwood, who established the annual free symphony orchestra concerts for school children.

The NFSO also sponsors KATS, Kids at the Symphony, now in its 5th year, and has partnered to support the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra since 1998 as well as a Junior Orchestra program and other youth music education endeavors.

The May 8 & 9 Carnegie Hall interactive concert with the NFSO and area 4th grade students will include music from Offenbach’s Can-Can, Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz, Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, “Toreador” from Bizet’s Carmen, and the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The varied program also introduces the young audience members to the sections of the orchestra and provides opportunities for them to play along with the orchestra.

Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Link Up national partnerships grew out of the program’s ongoing work with New York City schools, through which Carnegie Hall has engaged hundreds of thousands of students in musical learning since its inception in 1985. During the 2011–2012 season, Link Up incorporated a new curriculum, which the NFSO will be presenting, called “The Orchestra Moves.” Students discover how composers create musical movement using elements such as motif, melodic direction, steps and leaps, dynamics, and orchestration. Exploring a range of orchestral repertoire, students compose, sing, and play on the recorder and/or the violin.

For information on the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Emerald Coast’s premiere professional orchestra since 1987, see the NFSO website at www.NFSymphony.org .


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