TH Symphony Orchestra receives grant for presentations for grade schoolers

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra has received a grant from the Indiana Chemical Trust to fund a new spin on their annual “Adventures in Music” educational concerts for elementary school children in the Wabash Valley.

To keep students and musicians safe from the spread of COVID-19, the THSO will present a 30-minute virtual concert in all 4th and 5th grade music classes in Vigo County the week of April 5. The virtual concert will introduce each instrument of the orchestra and the ensemble families within the symphony.

Demonstrations of the instruments will be performed by the Principal musicians of the THSO. Students will hear excerpts from familiar favorites such as “Harry Potter” film music, Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” which will also be performed at the orchestra’s first (virtual) concert of 2021 on April 10.

During the week of April 12, students will have a chance to engage with the THSO musicians via Google Meet sessions to ask questions and reflect on the virtual performance.

“We have never done a direct engagement element with our Children’s Concert immediately following the concert, so we are very excited to have our musicians and students meet virtually,” said THSO Executive Director and Principal Clarinet, Samantha Johnson-Helms.

“The most exciting part about this virtual program is the potential to reach a larger number of students with no cost to the schools,” she added. “We are ecstatic that the Indiana Chemical Trust is able to fund this program!”

In a non-pandemic year, “Adventures in Music” concerts are presented at Tilson Auditorium in a live, full orchestra setting for thousands of 4th graders in VCSC, private school students, homeschoolers, and families each year. In April 2020, the THSO unfortunately had to cancel the performances due to COVID-19. This year’s virtual program will allow 4th graders and 5th graders who missed the cancelled concerts last year to experience this important and potentially life changing performance virtually.

“Our longstanding partnership with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra introduces our students to the wonder of musical performance each year,” said Christi Fenton, executive director of elementary education, Vigo County School Corporation. “We are grateful to the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and the Indiana Chemical Trust for developing this creative way to continue this important program during COVID-19, and we look forward to this more interactive experience being available to our students in the future.”

The THSO’s educational mission is to encourage children to pick up an instrument or sing when they are presented with the opportunity from their school music programs. Multiple studies show children who participate in music education programs experience improved grades, problem solving skills, and creativity. The THSO also provides educational resources to teachers directly on their website to aid classroom curriculum and enhance student learning in coordination with the THSO concerts.

THSO Board President Tonya Balch commented, “It is exciting to be part of the Terre Haute Symphony Association. We continue to provide great music close to home during this time of social distancing. Offering educational opportunities for children to have a concert experience is part of our core mission and we are thrilled to continue this work. Supporting our children’s growth in knowledge, skills, and dispositions through music education is one of many benefits experienced through our continued engagement efforts.”

The 30-minute virtual concert will be available for free to private schools, homeschool students, families, and other public school programs upon request.

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