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Nearly 11,000 Children to Perform with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in Six LINK UP Concerts, 4/8-10

Nearly 11,000 Children to Perform with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in Six LINK UP Concerts, 4/8-10

On April 8, 9 and 10, nearly 11,000 of the region's third, fourth and fifth grade students will make their debut playing with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. The six Link Up concerts are the culmination of a year of school-based music education with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School's FLEX program (Foundations in Learning Exploration). The Philharmonic seeks to serve every elementary student in the state within five years.

2014 marks the Philharmonic's third season of Link Up, developed by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. Providing instruments, curriculum materials and professional development to schools, Link Up culminates in concerts where students play along with the Philharmonic - not just for the finale, but for 75% of the program. The program started in 2012 with seven thousand children participating; this year, nearly eleven thousand children will play in six concerts, titled "The Orchestra Rocks." Funding for Link Up comes primarily from businesses, foundations and individuals.

"Link Up will serve almost 11,000 students and their teachers this year, and that number would easily double if additional funding were available," said David Beauchesne, executive director of the RI Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School. "Rhode Island and surrounding communities want and need quality music education, and our partners the Hasbro Children's Fund, TACO/The White Family Foundation, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Victoria AlvitiMusic Foundation, along with many others, share our goal: to provide five years of quality music education to every elementary student in the state. A robust elementary school music program will pay off at every level; it prepares students for existing programs in middle and high schools, encourages administrators and parents to advocate for music in our schools, and improve academic achievement across the board."

"The Philharmonic has been presenting education concerts since 1946," said Annette Mozzoni, the Philharmonic's Director of Education and the Music School. "Performed by the full Philharmonic Orchestra at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence, these concerts are the first introduction, for many students, to music played by a large group of people on many different instruments. Our partnership with Carnegie Hall takes these concerts a big step further: Link Up unites the classroom with the concert hall, in a curriculum aligned with national standards for music learning."

FLEX is designed in consultation with area teachers and administrators to complement existing in-school programs, while making use of the distinctive resources of the Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School. Its three components are:

1. Listen Up: a five-year music listening program based on curricula that have been successfully implemented in elementary schools throughout the United States and Canada. Five-minute musical selections - chosen from the work of thirty composers spanning four centuries - are played in all of a school's classrooms daily for a week. Each is preceded by informational scripts whose aggregate provides both a foundation for the experience and a stepping stone for further exploration. The program requires a minimum of teacher preparation and direction: schools receive five years of scripts and recordings, as well as professional development and assessment tools.

2. Link Up: Designed by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, the program provides recorders and workbooks for third, fourth and fifth graders, and a hands-on curriculum that teaches the basics of music and music making through performance and creative work. Aside from music literacy, the curriculum includes interdisciplinary lessons with historical and cultural contexts, and a math exercise where students "score" melodies based on intervals. When students attend the culminating concert, they bring their instruments and become members of the orchestra - not just for the finale, but for 75% of the concert.

3. Phil Up: Intended to follow students previously participating in Listen Up and Link Up as they move into middle and high school, Phil Up provides artist residencies and ensemble workshops, customized for each school's needs, to complement existing music programs and infuse music across the curriculum.

FLEX benefits the community, both now and in the long term. Students gain: basic music literacy; singing and/or recorder proficiency; exposure to the symphonic music tradition; and increased interest in music and the music-making process. "In the big picture," said Mozzoni, "in-depth involvement in the arts leads to stronger academic achievement, higher graduation rates, loftier career aspirations, and greater civic engagement - particularly in underserved children. Teacher success and job satisfaction are strengthened, as well."

FLEX Sponsors include:

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Carnegie Hall / Weill Music Institute

The Rhode Island Foundation Hasbro / Hasbro Children's Fund

Amgen Taco / The White Family Foundation

Bank of America TD Bank

National Endowment for the Arts Collette Vacations

Citizens Bank The Vets Foundation

The Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic The Carter Family Charitable Trust

The Victoria Alviti Music Foundation The Grant Sherburne Fund

June Rockwell Levy Foundation Mary Dexter Chafee Fund

Frederick C. Tanner Fund Rhode Island Music Educators Association

The John Clarke Trust Navigant Credit Union

The 24 Hour Music Project The Pacifica Foundation

Staples Ms. Lisa Bisaccia and Robert Naparstek, MD

The Szostak Family Foundation Mr. and Mrs. Richard Higginbotham

Mr. and Mrs. Raymond F. Murphy, Jr.

CONCERT PARTICIPATION, BY DATE

Tuesday April 8, 9:45

Riverside: Waddington Elementary

Swansea, MA: E.S. Brown School

Pawtucket: Henry J. Winters School, Curvin-McCabe Elementary, Baldwin Elementary

Central Falls: The Learning Community Charter School

Cumberland: Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School 2

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