The Kingston Symphony moves its Symphony Education Partnership online

In past years, over 2,500 Grade 4 students would have visited the concert hall over the course of two days in March to experience a live performance presented by the Kingston Symphony. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year, we have moved this program online in order to reach these students and as a result have more than doubled the number of children we will reach in our region.

This year’s concert showcases all of the major instruments in the orchestra. Kingston Symphony Music Director, Evan Mitchell, provides a brief introduction to the instrument; how it works, what makes it unique, and what sort of music it often plays in the orchestra. We then show the orchestra performing a piece that focuses on that instrument in action. All of these performances were recorded by the Kingston Symphony musicians themselves in their homes, and have been put together by Maestro Evan Mitchell for the final product.

For many of the students attending from the Limestone District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, this would have been their first time seeing an orchestra perform live, and we hope they will get to experience a classical live performance in the near future. For over 25 years, the Kingston Symphony Association, Queen’s University DAN School of Drama and Music, and local school boards have collaborated to present the Symphony Education Partnership, a unique program that introduces students to classical music through education, interaction, and performance. Although it won't be quite the same watching Kingston Symphony musicians perform online this year, students will certainly still benefit from the educational aspect of this digital concert.

Each year, teachers representing the school boards, music education faculty at Queen’s University and Kingston Symphony staff plan the repertoire and write a curriculum for the program. Music education students from the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University visit the elementary schools to teach lessons to the Grade 4 students. This year, the university students have been teaching in the remote learning schools run by the Limestone District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board. From making instruments, to learning lyrics to a new song, to composing their own music, the students are immersed in music every step of the way. Finally, four Kingston Symphony concerts take place over two mornings (in non-COVID-19 times), giving the students a first-hand classical music experience and long-lasting memories.

The Kingston Symphony's digital performance will be available to over 4,500 students and their teachers to view from Tuesday, March 30 at 1 p.m. to Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1 p.m.