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KPBSD students play in interactive orchestra concerts

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Hundreds of KPBSD students—approximately 200 from Redoubt Elementary and K-Beach Elementary, and 120 from McNeil Canyon—and the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra (KPO) delighted thousands through two fall concerts and the national Carnegie Hall Link Up Program.

Tammy Vollum-Matturro, the director and conductor of the KPO said, “The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra was excited to include elementary students ON STAGE for this concert! The concert is very educational: introducing the sections of the orchestra, how melodies are written, and many other elements of music through music and projected visuals.”

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August, 2012, Sue Biggs, music teacher at Redoubt Elementary School and KPO concertmaster, and Jeanne Duhan, music teacher at K-Beach Elementary and KPO horn player have been teaching and preparing their students to sing and play for their memory-making concert. Additionally, nine members of the Homer Youth String Orchestra Club learned the music to play with the orchestra. McNeil Canyon Elementary School in Homer completed an Artist in Schools residency with the conductor of the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, Tammy Vollom-Matturro. During their residency, students learned to play the recorder and sing songs in preparation for their concert in Homer with the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra.

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Two public concerts were held—on Saturday, November 3, Redoubt Elementary and K-Beach Elementary students performed at the Kenai Central High School auditorium, and on November 4, the McNeil Canyon children and their teachers played alongside the orchestra on the Mariner Theater stage. Materials for the concerts were provided by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute through their Link Up program.

For McNeil Canyon students, the Artist in Schools residency was made possible with funds provided by the Alaska Legislature through the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional funding from the Rasmuson Foundation and the McNeil Canyon Community Council.

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KPO said, “Link Up is a 28-year program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, which pairs orchestras with elementary aged students at local schools across the country to explore orchestral repertoire through hands-on curriculum. Students participating in Link Up perform in a culminating concert where they sing and play recorders with the orchestra. Nationally, this program will serve approximately 185,000 students and teachers.”

Debbie Piper, a KPBSD teacher said, “The entire McNeil Canyon community is still smiling about our concert with the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra. Students learned music by singing and playing the recorder; they learned about the instruments of the orchestra; they learned stage presence; they got to know a real conductor; they felt like stars! They discovered that if you practice, practice, practice you can accomplish really hard things. The staff learned alongside their students and some even stepped outside their personal comfort zones. We all took to the stage together, sharing what we had accomplished, being proud together, and shining together.”

The collaboration with these significant organizations provided our students, their families and friends with an amazing gift—the joy of music. In a season of thanksgiving, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is especially appreciative of the students, organizations, educators, musicians, families, and volunteers who made these two concerts and learning experience possible.

Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall

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