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Rotary hears about public schools’ symphony program

Celia House, the music teacher at New Albany Elementary School, spoke with Bill Smallwood after the Rotary Club luncheon meeting Friday. Smallwood has been a major supporter of the New Albany performances of the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra since the beginning of those performances several years ago. For the first time this year elementary school students will perform with the orchestra.

New Albany Public Schools music teacher Celia House spoke to the Rotary Club, Friday, April 15th, about the symphony program in the schools.

The Carnegie Foundation of New York, the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the New Albany Public Schools, and the New Albany Symphony League have joined forces to create a program of symphony music in the public schools for the first time this year.

NAES students perform for Rotary Club using Carnegie Link recorders

NAES students perform for Rotary Club using Carnegie Link recorders

Students at New Albany Elementary School.have been practicing since early in the school year for a performance next Friday, April 22, with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.

The Rotary program included a performance by elementary school students playing musical instruments called recorders, a wind instrument that has been in use since the Middle Ages.

Following is the text of Celia House’s presentation to the New Albany Rotary Club:


New Albany Schools' music teacher Celia House addresses the Rotary Club about the Carnaegie Link program

New Albany Schools’ music teacher Celia House addresses the Rotary Club about the Carnaegie Link program

This year we are honored to be able to partner with the Link Up Program through Carnegie Hall and The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. All of our 2nd-5th grade students at New Albany Elementary School will participate in this partnership, as well as some of our music students from the Middle school. Thanks to the New Albany Symphony League, our students will have the opportunity to participate in this cultural experience! Most people in the surrounding communities are not exposed to this type of event until adulthood, if ever.

The Link Up program gives students the opportunity to join the orchestra as an active participant.  They learn to sing and/or play an instrument in the classroom and perform with a professional orchestra from their seats at a culminating concert. Our concert will be April 22.  The Curricula provided by Carnegie Hall consists of 4 programs that schools may choose from:  The Orchestra Rocks, The Orchestra Moves, The Orchestra Sings, and their newest addition to the curricula is The Orchestra Swings. Our students will be participating in the Orchestra Sings.  Link Up provides materials, including Teacher guides, student guides, concert scripts, and concert visuals.

The instrument that the 4th and 5th grade students are playing is called a Recorder.  Recorder facts: It is a woodwind instrument made popular during the Baroque period (1600-1750) Composers of the day used it in their compositions. It was featured in the plays of Shakespeare. It has a chromatic range of over 2 octaves.

The repertoire from the Orchestra Sings consists of:

 “Come to Play”- Theme song of the Link up Series- Thomas Cabaniss

“Ode to Joy” Ludwig von Beethoven

“Simple Gifts” Joseph Brackett-Shaker dancing song

“New World Symphony” Antonin Dvorak

“Bought Me A Cat”  Traditional Folk Song

“To Make Words Sing”  Thomas Cabaniss

“Oye”  Jim Papoulis

Firebird Suite Finale” Igor Stravinsky

In the Orchestra Sings, students explore Melody, which is one of the universal elements of music.  Composers and musicians create melodies which can be sung or played on instruments. The orchestra sings when its musicians play melodies on their instruments. Through the Link up Repertoire, hands on activities and culminating performance they will discover how the orchestra sings.  They will discover that:

Melodies are made of Patterns (both melodic and rhythmic)

Melodies can be playful (Bought me a Cat- creating our own version of bought me a cat with student selected animals and sounds.)

Melodies Play together (exploring harmony – some students sing while others play instruments creating the different harmonies)

Melodies tell a story (exploring how melody, harmony and accompaniment are used as elements of storytelling in music – The Firebird Suite

Students also learn about the 4 different families of instruments: Woodwinds, Brass, Strings, and Percussion.  They explore each family and identify instruments in those families.

Link Up poster in music classroom

Link Up poster in music classroom touts benefits of music education

Our goal is to hopefully get our Union county school elementary music students /teachers to participate with us in the coming years.  As most of you already know Music is much more than just entertainment. Just a few benefits of Music Education are:

Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.

Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

 Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination.

Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Just like playing sports, children can develop motor skills when playing music.

Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

Better Test scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.

Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.

Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.

The Link Up program also helps address the Common Core State Standards through learning activities that emphasize college and career readiness and it helps students :

  • demonstrate independence,
  • build strong content knowledge
  • respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
  • Comprehend and critique
  • Value evidence
  • Use Technology and digital media strategically and capably
  • Come to understand other perspectives and cultures

For more information on the New Albany Symphony League and the Link program:



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