The Orchestra Sings

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The theme for this season’s Link Up program was The Orchestra Sings. Students throughout the region studied and learned a comprehensive curriculum–created by Carnegie Hall’s worldwide music education initiative–in their music classes all year long. Wednesday morning was the culmination of all that work–the annual Link Up concert at Powell Hall.

Two near-capacity shows featured guest vocalist Erin Bode, host Brian Owens, and Steven Jarvi conducting the St. Louis Symphony. Also on stage were music teacher Emilee Kellermann and two trios from Kellison Elementary leading the audience in singing and recorder playing.

Music teacher Emilee Kellermann and students from Kellison Elementary perform at Link Up concert.
Music teacher Emilee Kellermann and students from Kellison Elementary perform on stage at Powell Hall for Link Up concert.

Two-thousand recorders playing the “Going Home” theme from the “New World” Symphony–you don’t experience that every day. Nor the talent of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Hava Polinsky, who stepped out to play an excerpt from Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the orchestra. Any number of grade school students are going to sleep on Wednesday night thinking about the musician who played so beautifully on her 17th birthday, and how they want to be like her someday.

A full house for Link Up concert
A full house for Link Up concert

Special kudos to the Education Team of Jessica Ingraham, Michael Gandlmayr and Laura Case-Reinert, who worked so hard and so smart to make this one of the best Link Up experiences ever.



Morning Strings

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Lucy Mosier’s University City High School string musicians can say that they’ve played with members of the St. Louis Symphony. Violinist Shawn Weil and cellist Bjorn Ranheim have been sitting in with and coaching and giving tips to the high school string players since early March. Symphony video intern Nicola Muscroft and I had the privilege of joining the morning string class. It was raining outside but inside the music was bright. Photos by Jessica Ingraham.



Trying to get serious for an interview
Trying to get serious for an interview

Creature Features

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Music tells the story this season, and does that in part by portraying characters–Don Quixote, Hamlet, and even the planets in our solar system. There are animal characters as well, in Peter and the Wolf and in Mother Goose Suite, and a totemic wolf in a new double bass concerto by Tan Dun.

To tell animal stories with animal characters this season, the St. Louis Symphony and the Saint Louis Zoo have merged their artistic and educational talents again for a Family Concert (Hoot & Howl at Powell) and Education Concerts in October. A nocturnal theme drives the music and the stories, so you’ll hear Night on Bald Mountain and get to know Luna the Bat.

My Education Department colleagues Jessica Ingraham and Michael Gandlmayr took a trip to the Zoo to work on the script for the shows with their zoological counterparts. And they took some time to visit with a few of the inhabitants on an outlandishly gorgeous day in August.