Elgin – For the second year in a row, U-46 fourth grade students will have the opportunity to hear the Elgin Symphony Orchestra perform as part of their music education. Approximately 925 students and 50 teachers from the district’s elementary schools will attend the “Kidz Koncerts” at The Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin on April 14-17.
Last year, fourth graders in the district’s 10 transformation schools were the only ones with the opportunity to go. This year, extra support from the U-46 Educational Foundation made it possible to offer the chance to all fourth graders from Title I schools, which are identified for their concentration of students from low-income families.
“These students need the arts in their lives just as much as other children, if not more,” said U-46 Fine Arts Coordinator Alicia Kopec. “Most of them are from families that do not attend ESO concerts. Last year was the first year we had this money available and the kids loved the concert.”
Since 2011, the U-46 Educational Foundation has worked closely with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and other community partners such as the EFS Foundation to combine resources and provide opportunities for children to attend ESO concerts.
Last year’s students, after being exposed to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for the first time, were full of questions about music and instruments. In some of the schools, registration for fifth grade band and orchestra increased over prior years.
Fourth graders who get to attend an ESO performance this year will get to practice audience manners in a concert setting, and they will get to learn more about the instruments that make up an orchestra. U-46 students have their first opportunity to play an instrument of their own in fifth grade during orchestra or band. Attending an ESO concert will give many of the fourth graders early exposure to the idea of playing an instrument and help them figure out which one they like best.
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra has one week of performances planned just for kids this season. The concerts will be held in Elgin’s Hemmens Auditorium and offer students from across the region a chance to explore classical music.
“Attending a concert by the renowned Elgin Symphony Orchestra is an amazing opportunity for our students,” said U-46 CEO Tony Sanders. “I am very glad the fine arts department was able to secure additional funding from the U-46 Educational Foundation to expand this program in its second year.”