As part of a unique 10-week program, several students from Tumwater are being given the once-of-a-life opportunity of performing with the Seattle Symphony. In addition to playing, these students will dance and sing at Benaroya Hall.

While watching a video of “Toreador” from the opera “Carmen”, third-grade students who attend Peter G. Schmidt Elementary School were totally mesmerized. Throughout the clip, Howell provided the students with information as to what was happening, explaining how in one part, the main character was saying that bullfighting is extremely dangerous.

Rafael Howell, who is a teaching artist with the Seattle Symphony is showing this particular video to students since it will be among several classical songs learned during the 10-week program in preparation for a May concert. At that time, roughly 2,000 students from the Puget Sound region will perform with the Seattle Symphony.

Seattle SymphonyAs stated by Mirai Urushidani, age nine, everyone is super excited. Mallory McSpadden, also nine chimed in saying that performing was going to be fun, especially with so many people in attendance. For about 40 minutes each week, Howell is making his way to different third-grade classes at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary School in conjunction with the Seattle Symphony Link Up program. According to principal Jack Arend, the kids are so stoked.

During the 10 weeks, students will learn to play an instrument like a violin or recorder but also learn to sing and dance. Once the program ends, these same students will perform from their seats at the symphony. As explained by Howell, curriculum used in the program was developed by the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute. The $1,500 cost of the program is being paid for through donations from a PTO grant and parents.

In 2015, roughly 10,000 students from 116 schools were involved with the Link Up program. Since being founded, the program has grown significantly every year. Ultimately, the goal is to motivate students specific to classical music. Instead of just going to the Seattle Symphony, students have the chance to actually perform.

Along with “Toreador”, the students will learn numerous songs, including, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Overture, Strauss’ “The Blue Danube”, and “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart. Until the concert gets closer, the students have no clue which parts they will perform. That in itself adds to the excitement that the students feel. The program has been highly successful, leading to a number of students taking greater interest in classical music, as well as song and dance.