The first day the small group of Garfield Elementary students gathered in the music room, their teacher told them they’d been hired by the Spokane Symphony for a special performance.
Nearly 700 budding musicians and singers in grades 3-5 will join the Spokane Symphony for morning and evening performances Friday. The second-annual event is the culmination of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute national Link Up program, in which 40 orchestras across the country partner with local schools.
Students from Orient and Wellpinit school districts, eight of Spokane Public Schools’ elementary schools and area private schools will sing and play recorder with the orchestra from their seats in Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. Among the songs on the playlist: “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
“You are part of the performance, so don’t forget to sing,” said Kate Klotz, the Garfield music teacher leading the students. “Jump up from your seat and really sing.”
Braden McLaughlin, 10, knows the drill. He played recorder last year. This year he’s singing because he “wanted to mix it up a bit,” he said.
Jessica Olazabel, 8, agreed to the task because she knew it would be lots of fun, she said.
Klotz asked the students about symphony etiquette. The group rattled off answers: “nicely clap,” “don’t talk to the person next to you,” and “don’t leave your seat in the middle of a song.”
Janet Napoles, manager of education programs at the Spokane Symphony, said the goal of programs like these is to expose kids to music, orchestra instruments and the theater.
Additionally, she said, “We want kids to aspire to be a musician, or a conductor, or just to take up an instrument for the sheer joy and emotional beauty that music brings.”