Elementary schools, Kids Orchestra create harmony
Baton Rouge’s Kids Orchestra is the largest elementary-age after school music program in the country. Last month, elementary students from Brownfields Magnet, Ryan Elementary, and J.K. Haynes Charter ensembles of wind and percussion instruments during their combined Neighborhood Concert.
Now in its fifth year, Kids’ Orchestra provides opportunities for 800 kindergarten through fifth graders to study instrument and perform in an orchestra or sing in a choir. Students are given instruments on loan for the school year after paying a modest tuition.
In group settings, kindergarten and first graders are introduced to musical concepts in the Foundations class. Second through fifth graders choose and study instruments in brass, percussion, strings and woodwinds. Vocal education and theory are essential in the K-6 choir program.
Kids’Orchestra offers mentorship, tutoring and homework help, and a healthy snack at each session to ensure each child is prepared for success regardless if they pursue music once graduating from our program.
Each student has the opportunity to perform in Neighborhood Concert Series, while honors level students perform during Kids’ Orchestra three orchestras, two choirs, and special community performances.
Kids’ Orchestra’s mission is to bring children of all cultures and backgrounds together using music education as a vehicle to foster teamwork, develop understanding and emphasize excellence.
The program is modeled after the principles of El Sistema: fostering teamwork and understanding, crossing economic barriers, emphasizing excellence, and learning instrumental skills and brotherhood within the orchestral system.
Photos by Yusef Davis