Music has power. A boisterous audience of St. Louis schoolchildren turned into a
subdued, quiet and thoughtful audience as Dvorák's famed "Going Home" melody from
the "From the New World" Symphony was played by the St. Louis Symphony.
Wednesday morning buses arrived at Powell Hall carrying schoolchildren, teachers and chaperones from throughout the St. Louis region for the annual LinkUP! concerts.
A program developed by Carnegie Hall's Weill Institute--and continually
evolving--LinkUP! supplies schools and orchestras across the country with a
year-long music curriculum. Music teachers love it. Students love it. The St.
Louis Symphony loves it. Everybody gets a recorder. Everybody sings. Everybody
Reinert, the Symphony's Early Childhood Education Coordinator, worked with 74
St. Louis and St. Louis County schools throughout the year. Each season LinkUP!
focuses on a particular concept, and for 2011-12 it was "The Orchestra Sings":
melody, melodic form, contour, steps, leaps and phrases.
had to miss the LinkUP! concerts because she was busy giving birth to her
second child on Tuesday night (Welcome Jacob Henry Reinert!). Dacy Gillespie,
Education Programs Manager, took over as chief backstage manager and worrier,
and ran the progression of slides that complement the show.
As almost always happens with LinkUP!, and most Symphony Education Concerts, I
thought, "I know a lot of grownups who would like to learn this stuff,"
including myself. When the English horn played the melody to "Going Home," a
caption on a slide told the audience "English horn plays the melody."
"Contour," the students learned, is "a musical shape." Guest conductor Andre Franco's motions to start the orchestra mean "ready, set, go." "Steps" are "small changes in
pitch." "Leaps" are "large changes in pitch." Everybody sings "Tis a Gift."
Everybody sings "Oye" and learns some Spanish along the way. And if you want to
hear schoolchildren rejoice, tell them "We're going to sing 'I Bought Me a Cat'"
by Aaron Copland. For a finale, the Symphony played one of the greatest, the
finale to Stravinsky's "The Firebird," as the slide informed the audience "Horn
introduces melody"; "Melody's now twice as fast"; "Listen for 7 huge chords."
And they did.
Afterward, the seal of approval came from one student: "That was way cool."
"InstantEncore made launching a mobile app seem effortless."