Winston-Salem Symphony presents Mary Starling Program concerts for all fifth-graders

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2020

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WINSTON-SALEM — For more than 55 years, the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Mary Starling Program has introduced fourth- and fifth-graders in the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County School System to music. Each year, woodwind, brass, string, and percussion ensembles comprised of Winston-Salem Symphony members visit and perform for all fourth- and fifth-graders, giving them a close-up view of the instruments and how they work. In addition, all fifth graders in the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County School System are transported to a formal concert hall to experience a full symphony orchestra concert.

This year, the concerts for fifth-graders will take place on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 at 10 and 11 a.m. under the baton of Tim Redmond at Reynolds Auditorium, 301 N. Hawthorne Road in Winston-Salem.

“The Mary Starling Program is an important part of the Winston-Salem Symphony’s educational programs and outreach,” said Rachel Watson, senior director of education, engagement and inclusion for the symphony. “Studies have shown the importance of music in enhancing education and learning. For more than 55 years, this powerful program has brought live music to our school children and introduced them to the wonder and joy of classical instruments and music.”

Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) selected the Winston-Salem Symphony to participate in WMI’s Link Up program during the 2016-2017 season. Since then, the symphony has incorporated Link Up into the Mary Starling Program each year.

Link Up is a highly participatory program that pairs orchestras across the country with schools in their local communities, inviting students to learn about orchestral repertoire through a yearlong, hands-on music curriculum. Each year focuses on specific concepts, including rhythm, melody, tempo, orchestration, and composition. Utilizing materials provided free of charge by WMI, teachers guide students in exploring music through a composer’s lens, with students participating in active music making in the classroom; performing repertoire on recorder, violin, voice, or body percussion; and taking part in creative work such as composing their own pieces inspired by the orchestral music they have studied.

Link Up’s national partnerships grew out of the program’s ongoing work with New York City schools, through which Carnegie Hall has engaged hundreds of thousands of students in musical learning since its inception in 1985.

The Winston-Salem Symphony is one of more than 90 national and international organizations chosen for this program. Visit for a complete list of participants and further details.