In collaboration with the Santa Cruz Symphony, for the third year, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education supported approximately 3800 students in participating in this year’s Link Up program, “The Orchestra Sings” at the Mello Center for the Performing Arts and the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. During the first week of March 2020, students sang, did choreographed movements, and played recorders and other instruments alongside the Santa Cruz Symphony, guided by Master of Ceremonies, Omari Tau Williams and Santa Cruz Symphony Conductor Daniel Stewart. The Symphony and students were also accompanied by the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony, El Sistema Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Ballet Theater, and the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band, The event featured music selections ranging from “Ode to Joy”, “Simple Gifts”, to “Largo from Symphony No. 9, ‘From the New World’ and “Oye”. Each was accompanied with guidance from the Master of Ceremonies, Omari Tau Williams, on when to play and sing alongside the orchestra. There were also overhead slides with information and fun facts about the symphony. Students were provided with the hands-on experience of playing alongside an orchestra and were able to practice music education skills including reading music, playing an instrument and learning the fundamentals of performing. They were also introduced to the Mello Center and the Civic Auditorium and immersed in the world of music appreciation and education. Link Up is an organization that provides the ability for students to have experiences such as the one provided by this year’s “The Orchestra Sings” event. We can’t wait for next year’s Link Up program, “The Orchestra Swings” in Santa Cruz County! Contact Audrey for more information about “The Orchestra Swings” at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Written by Fiona Good-Sirota