Tuesday, April 10, 2018

BSO's OrchKids Performs at Library of Congress

The OrchKids performed at the Library of Congress, April 7th

From our friends at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra...

BSO’s OrchKids collaboration with the Library of Congress culminated on Saturday, April 7th with a performance at the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium.

OrchKids is an after-school music program, designed to create social change and to nurture promising young orchestral musicians in Baltimore City neighborhoods. A leader in the El Sistema USA, today the program operates in seven public schools in Baltimore City, serving over 1,200 students from pre-K to 11th grade.

The afternoon kicked off in the Great Hall with lively performances by OrchKids featuring bucket bands and horns, a precursor to what the audience could expect within an hour in the Auditorium. The electricity of the performance and the sheer power of the kids could be felt throughout the Library. The students had the onlookers clapping along to the beat and young kids were encouraged to dance along.

Once in the Hall, Chief Librarian Carla Hayden welcomed OrchKids to the Library. She spoke of her own connection to Baltimore as the former CEO of the city’s Enoch Pratt Library. In her remarks, she praised the BSO for their commitment to the community via outreach and education.

Then the magic happened when the OrchKids took the stage! The bucket drummers and horns kicked off the program with Brian Precthl’s “Keep Up,” and an arrangement of “We Got the Fire” created by the students. The audience was given specific lines to shout out throughout the second number and had the opportunity to move.

A sense of calm overtook the hall when the OrchKids’ Lockerman-Bundy Chamber Strings took the stage. Made up of six members, they performed Henry Purcell’s Rondo from “The Fairy-Queen” as well as Handel’s March from “Flavio.” The OrchKids String Ensemble closed out this portion of the program with two works by Richard Meyer, “Wisteria Waltz” and “Figs Frolic,” both from “A Fiddler’s Fancy.”

The collaboration culminated in an original composition by OrchKids in honor of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary. In January, the students came to the Library to dive into the Bernstein archives in order to learn more about the composer’s work before writing their collective composition. In “Untitled Composition,” the students were able to showcase their own individual voices but also tap into what made Bernstein’s music so popular.