Out of the Concert Hall and into the Community

When From the Top is out on the road taping our radio broadcasts, we make it a community experience. In addition to filling concert halls, we bring our performers to visit schools and community centers to share the power of music. Our performers are wonderful role models for the value of hard work, focus, and determination.

We’ve heard from our alumni that visiting schools with From the Top has left a deep impression and many continue to offer their own outreach programs when they return home.

Since January, From the Top has visited Kalamazoo, Michigan; Boston, Massachusetts; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Brunswick, Maine! Check out these highlights:

After taping a broadcast before a sold-out crowd at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, we visited with a group of nearly 40 middle school music students at the Maple Street Magnet School. The program featured Johannes Gray (cello), Marissa Uchimura, (piano), Jackie Tso (violin), and Eric Goldberg and Shuya Gong (marimbas). They played works by Bach, Chopin Wieniawski, and ended with a riveting marimba duo, performed on two massive five-octave marimbas that took almost an hour to assemble. Each performer also shared helpful practice techniques they use in their own playing, such as different metronome exercises, storytelling though music, and bowing techniques. We had such a blast, and the students at Maple Street were a wonderful audience!

In Boston, we were happy to host a group of students from James J. Chittick Elementary School at our hometown taping in early February. These students are all participants of musiConnects — a music education program that provides instruments, private lessons, and chamber music instruction at the Chittick School. The Chittick group got a special VIP pre-show talk with From the Top producers and the young performers. musiConnects has been a partner of From the Top in our Year-Long Intensive Arts Leadership Program in Boston, and we were happy to highlight its founder Betsy Hinkle during the broadcast!

In Pittsburgh, we visited with high school music students at the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies. The Temple Honor’s Quartet performed Schubert’s “Death and a Maiden” and then gave several mood variations on the opening measures, taking cues such as “happy” and “sad” from the audience, to demonstrate the intensity this work requires. Daniel Orson, a violist from Pittsburgh played an extremely technical solo sonata by Hindemith, and then demonstrated different techniques he used to practice the piece. Ending the program was pianist Sasha Voinov, who improvised pieces using theme and composer suggestions from the audience (including “Sponge Bob Square Pants” in the voice of Mozart!) Both groups of students we met at the Obama Academy were fabulous!