One of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra’s missions is to introduce the wonderful world of instrumental music to students. By offering these programs, the MSO hopes to inspire students to develop or continue their interest in symphonic music. The MSO supports various programs of benefit to students in the Worcester County Public Schools, Sussex County Schools, and any other schools in our performance area who make requests. The MSO school programs this past school year reached over 750 students.
Between September 2015 and June 2016, three hundred and fourteen students in four schools were introduced to two of the following symphony instruments – the flute, trombone, violin, bassoon or cello. Master Classes for 55 band students were held at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts for flute, clarinet, horn and percussion. The “Introduce an Instrument” class, showcasing the violin and bassoon, was presented to third grade students at Snow Hill Elementary School. In addition a 45 minute concert, planned by Concertmaster Nicholas Curie, was presented to the Snow Hill Elementary School of 400 students at the conclusion of their ”Big Draw” day. The MSO musicians who participated played the violin, bassoon, flute, trumpet and snare drum.
Our current programs are listed below.
• Note-Worthy Instrument Program: Loans instruments free of charge to students who cannot obtain their own. We now have thirty-one donated instruments in our collection. These instruments are repaired or refurbished and then loaned to students, along with a maintenance kit, who do not have the means to purchase an instrument. Arrangements for a loan are made through the instrumental music teachers.
• A-B-C me Play! Program: Introduces the violin to third grade elementary students at no charge to them. The symphony owns the violins and pays the violin teacher. The students have 10 violin lessons where they learn to play one or two simple pieces. This program gives young students the opportunity to learn about the instrument and hopefully inspire some of them to be part of an instrumental program the following year in their intermediate school.
• School Programs & Master Classes: Teachers request to have professional MSO musicians come to their school and work with their students. The elementary teachers often ask for two musicians who play different instruments. They want the musicians to introduce their instrument to the students, play a short piece either separately or together and then have a “hands on” time when the students actually try to play the instruments. The band and string orchestra teachers with older students are requesting several different MSO musicians for their band and orchestra classes. They want the musicians to listen to their students play pieces they are learning in class, and then conduct individual Master Classes for their specific instrument with the students. The musicians work with the students on improving their individual techniques and performance. Then the students assemble again and hopefully present an improved performance. Often the musicians perform a short piece individually or as a group for the students. This program provides a unique opportunity for young people to have personal contact with professional musicians, improve their own playing, and see the capabilities of their own instrument.
• Student Concert Tickets: The MSO continues to offer a limited number of free tickets to MSO concerts to 18 year olds and under. Reservations for these tickets are required. Call 888-846-8600 to reserve.
• Junior Ambassadors: High school students interested in helping the night of the concerts at the concert venues serve as junior ambassadors. Students must seek pre-approval from their schools if they are seeking student service hours.
There is no money in the MSO operating budget for these programs. They are funded solely by donations and grants from individuals and community organizations. We have been able to provide the programs requested by the teachers for their students through the generosity of Mr. Michael Jahnigen, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, American Legion Synepuxent Post 166 in Ocean City, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, #2645, and the Ocean City- Berlin Optimist Youth Foundation. The MSO is very grateful to these supporters who give us the opportunity to give students a positive musical experience by professional musicians that they otherwise would not have. Additional financial support and instrument donations are always welcomed.
Click here to read An Initiation to Classical Music: A Letter to a Neophyte