On February 3 and 4, more than 12,000 fourth and fifth graders from Long Beach and Wilmington public schools will flood into the Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center to hear Long Beach Symphony play four full symphonic concerts created especially for the occasion.
To be conducted by Dr. Robert Istad, Artistic Director of Long Beach Camerata Singers, the four student field trip concerts are a part of a 30-year partnership with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), and help provide an integral part of the school district’s arts curriculum, according to the announcement.
Istad’s extensive experience with choral music will give 150 LBUSD high school students from the All District Honors Choir the opportunity to perform with Long Beach Symphony onstage at the Terrace Theater as well.
“These concerts mark a true collaboration between the Long Beach Unified School District and the Long Beach Symphony, which is integral to the arts curriculum we provide at the District,” stated James Petri, music curriculum leader at LBUSD. “The district is committed to these concert fieldtrips, because we witness firsthand the lasting effect it has on inspiring our students to pursue music in our schools and throughout their lives.”
The program targets fourth and fifth grade students who may decide to learn and pursue an instrument through their school’s music programs. All students in LBUSD’s fifth grades attend giving many students the opportunity to attend a symphony orchestra performance for the first time. The theme of this year’s Miller Symphony Concerts for Young People is “Symphonic Stories.” Music selections will include Prokofiev’s "Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2," Mendelssohn’s "Midsummer Night’s Dream," Ralph Vaughan Williams’ "Drinking Song (Back and Side Go Bare)," and Handel’s Coronation Anthems, “No. 1, Zadok the Priest," according to the announcement.
Over 40 Long Beach Symphony volunteers are gearing up to make sure this two-day event runs smoothly, as well as members of the Symphony’s staff and Board of Directors.
The Miller Symphony Concerts for Young People are part of the Long Beach Symphony’s over 150 free education programs, which include Instrument Petting Zoos for preschoolers at community events and local libraries, school site elementary ensembles for second and third graders, middle school workshops and high school master classes with visiting international conductors and soloists.
The free education events annually reach 24,000 youth ranging from children three years of age through college level. In recent years, the Symphony’s Sounds and Spaces program has brought music education to the general public with free ensemble performances for all ages at various neighborhood locations.
The annual student concerts are part of $240,000 spent on free music programs annually, according to the release. They are sponsored by a grant from The Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation, with additional support from Valero Energy, the Boeing Company and many other corporate and foundation partners throughout Southern California, according to the announcement. For more information, please visit Long Beach Symphony’s website here or call 562.436.3203.