Starkville-MSU Symphony offers Link Up program

The Starkville-MSU Symphony will perform their annual children's program March 2 with the help from a  grant from Carnegie Hall. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

The Starkville-MSU Symphony Association has partnered with Carnegie Hall to present the Link Up program to Starkville-Oktibbeha County schools, home school co-op and Starkville Christian School.

Link Up, Carnegie Hall's longest-running education program, has over 100 partners worldwide.

Link Up educational materials have been translated into four languages as the program expands, reaching more than 400,000 students and teachers worldwide, including 38 states in the United States including Puerto Rico, Canada, Kenya, Spain and Japan.

Starkville-MSU Symphony chair of programs for children Joe Underwood said the symphony performs six to eight free concerts each year.

"Since 1968, we have committed ourselves to providing free concerts, but we do fundraisers, write grants and there's a lot of people who donate money, but we don't charge at the gate," he said.

Underwood said the Starkville-MSU Symphony has been providing music education programs for students in the area since 1975. The programs have grown throughout the years and covered different themes including Mississippi musicians, science and history, international music, dance and patriotic and folk songs.

The theme of this year's program is "The Orchestra Sings."

This year, with the funding from the Carnegie Foundation, the Starkville-MSU Symphony provided books for kindergarden through fifth grade students and teaching guides for teachers at Starkville Christian School, Starkville-Oktibbeha County Schools and home school co-ops. Recorders were also given to VIVA and PEAK students at Starkville-Oktibbeha County Schools and home schooled students, while Starkville Christian School already taught recorder to students.

Underwood said with the books, kindergarten and first grade students are learning "Bought Me a Cat" by Thomas Cabaniss, second grade is learning "Simple Gifts" by Joseph Brackett, third grade is learning "Come to Play" by Thomas Cabaniss and fifth grade is learning "New World" by Anton Dvorak. All of the students are also learning a Brazilian piece entitled "Oye" by Jim Papoulis to teach the children communication between cultures.

Underwood can then sing along with the Starkville-MSU Symphony's performances of the songs on March 2 at Lee Hall.

Underwood said a group of fourth grade students will also perform on stage with the orchestra.

"Having a chance to sing with an orchestra is not something every kid gets to do, and it's a big deal for the children," he said.

A evening performance for the show will be at 7:30 p.m. at Lee Hall and will be open to the public.

To get the students excited about the music program, Underwood said they are also hosting an art competition in which the students create artwork to accompany the pieces of music they are learning.

Underwood said the first, second and third place winners will win bags full of art supplies, and the best overall winner will win a paint party at Splatters with friends.