In addition to a full symphonic season, chamber series, and Mares 'n Music in our Discover Series, the Walla Walla Symphony delivers a comprehensive youth music education project, “Taking It to the Kids,” to 4000 young people annually. The youth project couples the musical talents of a full symphony orchestra with the educational needs of a rural youth population.
Youth music literacy and performance skills augment the cultural health of any community. In the rural setting in which we operate, young people are disadvantaged by their geographic isolation from the many opportunities offered in larger cities. Our “Taking It to the Kids” project is unique in the Pacific Northwest because it provides mentoring situations between the members of an established symphony orchestra and young people who, because of local public school funding issues or family economic limitations, have little or no free access to music education.
Our kids’ concerts consist of two complete, age-appropriate concerts presented on the same day in the symphony concert venue for 2600 fourth and fifth graders who are bussed to the performance from their schools. The concerts are offered to the students at no cost. The school districts, the symphony, and home-school associations provide the transportation. The symphony also provides and pays for the concert hall, the rehearsals, the music, the musicians and all the curriculum materials associated with the concerts.
The family concert is held on the evening before the Kids’ Concerts and is designed to allow lower-income families to attend a full symphony performance just by bringing a non-perishable food item.
Symphony musicians, the conductor and special guest artists schedule with private and public school administrators to deliver in-school concerts, master classes and lectures at no cost to the school. The musicians are configured into a variety of ensembles that include both classical chamber groups and specialty bands that perform Irish, jazz, folk, pop or Latino programs.
Youth scholarships offer per-service compensation for musicians under the age of 21 who are chosen after competitive auditions to perform with the symphony during the regular concert season. These scholarships are meant to subsidize the musical talents of gifted young artists and help them with the costs of their continued musical studies.
For more information about any of our Taking It To The Kids programs, please call the symphony office at 509.529.8020.