Seattle Symphony Invites Students To Sing And Play Along To Link Up Broadcast
Every spring since 2012, Seattle Symphony's Link Up education program, a partnership with Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, sees over 10,000 students from more than 100 Puget Sound schools arrive at Benaroya Hall to play along with the orchestra. The hands-on Link Up curriculum culminates in a concert where students are invited to sing and play along with the orchestra, performing selections students have practiced throughout the school year.
This year, the Seattle Symphony is taking Link Up online to bring students in the Puget Sound region and across the country musical exploration and engagement with an interactive broadcast on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at 11 a.m. PDT. While Benaroya Hall cannot host the annual event this year due to COVID-19 closures and gathering restrictions, the Seattle Symphony invites students, teachers and families to make music alongside Symphony musicians by singing or playing along to this special broadcast.
Now in its 8th year, Seattle Symphony's Link Up program has enriched music education at schools throughout the Puget Sound region by augmenting existing programs or filling gaps at schools without music funding. Carnegie Hall's Link Up, provides a highly participatory music curriculum for 3rd to 5th-graders and has 119 partner orchestras around the world. Students learn about orchestral repertoire over the course of the program, focusing on concepts such as rhythm, melody, tempo, orchestration and composition. The Symphony provides all participating schools with curriculum materials developed by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. Link Up brings active music-making to the classroom and gives students the opportunity to engage their creativity through music; participants learn to perform repertoire on recorder or voice and even explore writing their own composition inspired by the orchestral music they have studied. The culminating performance at Benaroya Hall provides students the chance to apply the musical concepts they learned throughout the year and is the first concert experience for many.
This year's Link Up concert, Link Up: The Orchestra Swings, was originally set for May 6-8 with six performances scheduled; all performances were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite not being able to provide the usual interactive experience for students in-person, the Seattle Symphony remains committed to making musical enrichment accessible for children, many of whom cultivated their newly acquired skills throughout the school year, especially while schools remain closed.
"I am hopeful that the current environment has helped illuminate the importance of arts education," says Amy Heald, Seattle Symphony Interim Director of Education & Community Engagement. "Music and the skills I developed as a student through school music programs aid me in navigating each day during this period. If we think of school as preparing our children for their adult life, we must provide them the opportunities for creativity. During this uncertain time, the musicians of the Seattle Symphony have poured their hearts into continuing to create and connect with our community, and I am incredibly grateful to be working alongside them."
John Turman, Seattle Symphony Horn and education programs host, shares, "Many of us in the orchestra would not be here were it not for school programs like Link Up. I want to pay it forward and help create access to music in a way I never had. It's such a tough time to be a kid - not getting to go to school, not getting to see their friends. To viewers out there young and old, we see you. We are a part of the same community, and this is for you."
Link Up: The Orchestra Swings Online features an interactive exploration of swing and jazz in next week's broadcast with orchestra members. Hosted by Seattle Symphony Horn John Turman, viewers will be invited to play or sing along with the musicians in standards such as C Jam Blues. Turman and fellow musicians will guide those tuning in through key music concepts, a review of recorder notes, the different lines of each piece, and performing together with the musicians onscreen. Link Up: The Orchestra Swings Online will air on Thursday, May 21 at 11 a.m. PDT. Audiences can join in on YouTube or Facebook. Link Up is a national program of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.
In addition to the special Link Up broadcast, the Seattle Symphony continues to share weekly Meet the Instrument and Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots installments throughout May. Meet the Instrument is hosted by a member of the orchestra who introduces their instrument to viewers through performing short excerpts and includes an instrument-related craft activity. Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots, hosted by Seattle Symphony Horn John Turman, builds on each week's Meet the Instrument in a fun exploration of related instruments through solo excerpts and ensemble performance.
For the rest of May, each week brings two all-new installments featuring the bass and bassoon. The broadcast schedule for Meet the Instrument and its companion Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots is as follows:
5/20: Meet the Instrument: Bass with Seattle Symphony Bass Travis Gore
5/22: Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots: The Basses
5/27: Meet the Instrument: Bassoon with Seattle Symphony Associate Principal Bassoon Luke Fieweger
5/29: Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots: The Bassoons
Meet the Instrument and Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots airs every Wednesday and Friday, respectively, at 11 a.m. PDT on YouTube or Facebook. These broadcasts offer discovery and fun for the young and young at heart and serve as a resource for teachers and families with young children during this period of school closures.
As announced in March, the Seattle Symphony continues to share free livestreams and rebroadcasts weekly until the orchestra can return to the Benaroya Hall stage, in hopes that these performances provide strength, comfort and joy. Audiences can look forward to a regular schedule of Seattle Symphony broadcasts each week. Programming updates will be shared at seattlesymphony.org/live. Those interested can also sign up to receive email notifications about upcoming Seattle Symphony rebroadcasts and livestreams.
Inspired by the orchestra's dedication to serving the community, more than 5,000 people have stepped forward with a donation since the closure of Benaroya Hall. These funds support the Seattle Symphony Future Fund, providing critical resources to ensure a bright future for symphonic music in our community. To learn more about how to support the Seattle Symphony or to make a donation, visit seattlesymphony.org/give. The Seattle Symphony looks forward to welcoming audiences back to Benaroya Hall again very soon and wishes everyone health and comfort in the coming weeks.