Texas Tech University

Orchestra Sings! USO and Local Elementary Schools Participate in Carnegie Hall's Link Up Program

Anna K.

March 8, 2023

Image of USO and local Lubbock ISD elementary school students

In collaboration with Carnegie Hall, Texas Tech University Symphony Orchestra and three local Lubbock ISD elementary schools are participating in Link Up’s Orchestra Sings.

On March 6th at 1:15 PM in Hemmle Recital Hall, approximately two hundred 4th grade students from Roscoe Wilson, Ramirez, and Maedgen Elementary performed Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird with the Texas Tech University Symphony Orchestra. This concert with USO and the 4th graders are in collaboration with Carnegie Hall's Link Up program: Orchestra Sings.

This project all began when Dr. Sarai Brinker, Lecturer of Musicology, was introduced to Carnegie Hall's Link Up program, Orchestra Sings, from a known contact from the Carnegie Hall's education department. Dr. Brinker currently participates in Carnegie Hall's Lullaby Project; a program connecting with young parent(s) in writing their own lullabies for their child(ren). With Dr. Brinker's passion to connect the community with music, Carnegie Hall introduced her to “Link Up.”

Image of USO and 4th GradersPhoto Credit: Karina Dozal

Dr. Brinker shares with us more about Link Up:

“Carnegie Hall's internationally recognized Link Up program partners with professional, community, and university orchestras across the United States and around the world to support existing local education programs and strengthen partnerships with local schools by providing free, high-quality resources that elementary music teachers can implement along with their own classroom materials. In 2022-2023, Link Up will partner with sites in the US, as well as in China, Canada, Colombia, Spain, Kenya, New Zealand, Poland, and Japan, to serve approximately 500,000 students and teachers globally.”

“This program fosters and strengthens relationships and ties between public schools and universities. This relationship will “not only expose them to orchestra and live sounds of music, but to also give kids the idea of being welcomed on a college campus, having the opportunity to watch rehearsals and FREE performances. The Texas Tech Orchestras, led by Lanfranco Marcelletti, is now one of over 100 national and international organizations chosen for this program!”

It was then in January 2020, Dr. Brinker and Mandy Algate, Roscoe Wilson Elementary music teacher, were in collaboration in trying to get an affiliation with the Link Up program. Finally in August 2022, Dr. Brinker and Ms. Algate contacted Maestro Lanfranco Marcelletti and two other elementary music teachers, Kelly Crump (Maedgen Elementary) and Kendall Mencio (Ramirez Elementary) to make the project official.

Photo of USO and local 4th gradersPhoto Credit: Karina Dozal

Ms. Kelly Crump, Kendall Mencio, and Mandy Algate are Texas Tech University School of Music Alumni. When studying for their music education degree, they took Music for Children (year-long course) and participated in the West Texas Kodály Initiative under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Brumfield, Professor of Music Education.

For the collaborated performance with the University Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Marcelletti, Dr. Brinker, and the elementary music teachers had a meeting with Carnegie Hall on using their educational resources. Carnegie Hall's education department has full concerts with resources; hence leading to choosing Stravinsky's The Firebird for the collaboration performance.

For this performance, the USO and 4th graders followed the Firebird storyline while using materials and program ideas created by the elementary music teachers and Dr. Brinker. Students signed solfege, showed rhythm with sticks, followed listening maps, and showed the beat and dynamics with feathers! In the Finale of The Firebird, three students were selected from the golden egg to come and conduct the USO with Maestro Marcelletti. Carnegie Hall provided the listening map, where students were interactive by raising image cards in the Finale. 

Image of USO and local 4th gradersPhoto Credit: Karina Dozal

This performance was set as a casual performance. This is the first time for many of the students to see a live orchestra. To be able to come to a professional ensemble, seeing them wearing casual clothes, like how “normal people” do, gives the students comfort and welcomes them in a safe place.

Maestro Marcelletti shares with us his experience in this project. “For us, it is not just about wanting or loving music, it is about making memories for the children... One child came up and asked, ‘Can you play lord of the rings?' It was interesting that children come up with an association with sounds of the orchestra to the things they have passion and enjoyment in... Another child approached his mother and said that one day he would like to learn the cello.”

It was an amazing day with the Texas Tech University Symphony Orchestra and the 4th graders from Roscoe Wilson, Ramirez, and Maedgen Elementary! We look forward to more of these wonderful collaborations with our local schools!