New Albany Elementary School students are busily polishing up their skills for tomorrow’s (April 21) performance with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The performance is part of the Carnegie Foundation of New York’s Link Up program.
Students had an opportunity to practice with and ask questions of Steven Byess, the conductor of the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Not only is Byess professionally connected with several orchestras, he is also a passionate advocate for the arts, much sought after for his speeches on the arts, music, music education and general education. His desire to encourage an understanding of classical music in the young students is evident in his attention to their questions and concerns.
The symphony performance in April 2016 was the first ever occasion for New Albany’s students to perform with a full symphony. By all accounts, last year’s performance was a resounding success. Celia House and her assisting teachers have again worked hard with to prepare their students to perform for this year’s concert. Two different levels of preparation were undertaken this year, with younger students who are participating for the first time at a beginner level. Students who participated last year have prepared to show off higher level skills in their second opportunity to perform.
House joined the New Albany Elementary School last year, teaching music. She came to New Albany from the Tupelo school system, where she had experience working with the Link Up program. House brings an abundance of knowledge, ability and enthusiasm to the Link Up program, and her contributions are evident in the enthusiasm of her young musicians.
Carnegie furnishes teaching materials, including teacher curriculum guide, teaching videos, student workbooks, musical scores. Link Up provides professional development workshops for local music teachers and connects them with Carnegie staff resources. The New Albany Symphony League raises the funds to underwrite the performance of the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra here in New Albany. Last year, over fifty local supporters aided in paying for the orchestra’s professional musicians to perform with New Albany Elementary Students.
Because most of the limited seating in the New Albany High School auditorium is required for the students to perform, the performance will not be open to the general public. Last year’s performance was videoed by NAHS students and TV99 and was recently shown at a free performance at the Movie Reel 4 in New Albany. We hope that some similar arrangement will be made for this year’s performance.