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Kids’ Orchestra is a year round program whose mission is to increase social harmony. We are working to accomplish this by bringing together kids of all races, cultures and backgrounds to study and perform as Kids’ Orchestras. Based on the celebrated Youth Orchestras of Venezuela, this has been a successful model of social change for 30 years. Currently there are many successful programs at work in South America, Europe, Canada and major American cities such as Baltimore, San Francisco and Cleveland. Inspire by their success, our organization has brought this unique opportunity to the children of Baton Rouge as well.
Kids’ Orchestra provides music education, instruments, leadership development, and performance opportunities to kindergarten through fifth-graders. Every child who wants to participate will have the ability to do so. Although a fee is charged, children who qualify for reduced lunch receive scholarships. Children begin by learning basic musical concepts, practice those concepts with simple instruments, and then graduate to the study of string, wind and percussion instruments based on teacher recommendation and individual student desire. We supply all instruments. Kids’ Orchestra performs at participating school functions as well as many community events. In our first year, Fall 2011-Spring 2012, Kids’ Orchestra performed at ten different venues including Opera Louisiane at the Old State Capitol, the annual meeting of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation at the Manship Theater, and the Louisiana Episcopal Diocesan Convention at St. James Episcopal Church. Each semester concludes with a final concert. Medals of recognition are given to each orchestra member and individual awards are presented for attendance, positive attitude, and for growth and excellence in performance.
Schools are chosen for their willingness to participate and their diversity. For the 2012-2013 semester, Kids’ Orchestra has programs at four different teaching sites in place with a total of nine schools participating.
- Kelsey Bailey
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