Seattle Musicians Combine Arts and Education

"Side by side" concert at Roosevelt High School part of a long tradition of Seattle Symphony education outreach inspiring artistic excellence in our city's youth

by Kathleen Stern

Art and education combined this week when musicians of the Seattle Symphony and student musicians from Roosevelt High School collaborated on a public concert which featured each group performing solo, and the two groups together for the grand finale.

Roosevelt orchestra director Anna Edwards is in charge of three orchestras at the school; the largest, Roosevelt Symphony, took the stage with the SSO musicians. This orchestra boasts students whose forebears have gone on to conservatory study and careers in music. The current students welcomed the opportunity to meet and work with professional symphony musicians. Wrote student Zoe Funai, “I am excited to have the honor to play with members of the SSO because it is an opportunity that most students do not get. I have watched the SSO for many years and now it is exciting to not only watch them, but to get to play beside them.” Her classmate Margaret Bell added, “I think it is going to be a cool experience because they are going to play the same music as us, and their style is going to be different because they have professional experience.” Annika Kounts agreed: “It is going to be cool to see how the Symphony plays and how we can learn from playing with them.”

The musicians of the SSO are delighted to have the chance to work as a group with student musicians. Most are instrumental teachers in their time away from Benaroya Hall and all are dedicated to educating this generation of classical music listeners and the professional performers and teachers of the future. Seated “side by side” with the students, sharing music stands and turning pages for each other, listening to the students’ questions about professional music as a career and hearing from them what it is like to study classical music in the twenty-first century, we are once again in awe as we are reminded that classical music is timeless and continues to inspire and enchant generation after generation. We remember our own youthful musical studies and are refreshed in our constant endeavor to perform classical music at the highest artistic level in our professional lives in the Seattle Symphony.

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