Students and orchestras will come together world-wide this April in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Link Up program, and Symphony Tacoma joins over 70 other orchestras across the globe as a Link Up partner orchestra through its popular education program, Simply Symphonic.

More than 4,000 4th and 5th grade students have been utilizing Link Up curriculum since late January in the classroom. These students will all converge on the Pantages Theater for concerts held at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 18 and Thursday, April 20. Many will bring violins or recorders, others will sing, engaging actively in music making along with the Symphony. This year, Symphony Tacoma shifts to The Orchestra Moves, the second of Link Up’s three curriculum cycles—focused on all the different ways in which instruments, sound and even the audience “move” with the music.

“The strength of the Link Up program is that students are given the opportunity to be active participants in making music. Few other art forms provide the opportunity to participate collectively, which is a special magic of music,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides.

The Link Up curriculum builds upon the already successful Simply Symphonic program, introducing students to the joys of orchestral music. Students first learn to sing or play an instrument in their classrooms, depending on the teacher and school capabilities and preferences. Then, they bring these skills to the concert hall, performing with the orchestra from their seats while the music is projected on screens above the stage. Link Up reaches nearly 250,000 students nationwide and is expanding beyond the US, partnering with orchestras in Canada, Spain, and Japan.

As part of the partnership, participating schools receive up-to-date curriculum guides for each teacher (featuring lessons on singing, playing the soprano recorder or violin, reading and notating music, and composing and improvising music) with an accompanying CD and DVD, as well as workbooks for each student. Symphony Tacoma recruits local teachers and students for participation and provides a professional development workshop and direct support for participating local teachers, as it has during Simply Symphonic‘s two-decade tenure.

In the Tacoma area, over 4,000 students from over 80 schools are participating in Simply Symphonic during the 2016-2017 academic year. Culminating concerts last under an hour and are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, April 18 and 20.  Held in Tacoma’s historic Pantages Theater, Symphony Tacoma musicians present the culminating interactive concerts, at the direction of new Music Director new Sarah Ioannides.

Simply Symphonic is open to 4th and 5th grade classrooms in the greater Pierce County area with scholarships available for schools with student populations in need. The Symphony commits to providing access to this award-winning program by keeping the participation fee low, at $3 per student. Since these fees cover only 15% of the program costs, the Symphony seeks sponsors to provide additional support. This year’s corporate partners are: Aetna, ArtsFund, Callisons, Lexus of Tacoma at Fife, Panagiotu Pension Advisors, Preferred Copier Systems, TOTE Maritime, Summit Financial Group, and U.S. Bank.