Last week students at New Albany Elementary School got new musical instruments which they will play in a performance with a professional symphony orchestra before the school year ends.
This year, for the first time, New Albany elementary music students are participating in a program called Link Up, which is sponsored nationally by the Carnegie Hall organization of New York.
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute designed the program to give elementary students around the country a hands-on exposure to serious music. Carnegie furnishes teaching materials, including teacher curriculum guide, teaching videos, student workbooks, musical scores. Link Up provides professional development workshops for local music teachers and connects them with Carnegie staff resources.
Carnegie pairs orchestras across the country with elementary students in their local communities to explore classical and other orchestral music. The New Albany Public Schools are paired with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra of Tupelo. The Link Up program has been used in the Tupelo schools for several years, but this is its first year in New Albany.
The New Albany Symphony League, which has sponsored New Albany performances by the Tupelo Symphony for several years, is the local sponsor of Link Up. The Symphony League will begin its fund drive for the support of the Link Up program in New Albany within the next couple of weeks. The Link Up program in New Albany will not require money from the public school budget.
The New Albany school administration took a major step forward in making the Carnegie Hall program available in New Albany by hiring Celia House as the music teacher for the elementary school starting this school year.
Born and raised in New Albany, Celia House taught music at Lawndale Elementary School in Tupelo. She continued to live in New Albany and commuted to Tupelo each day during the 14 years she taught music at Lawndale. She graduated from New Albany High School, attended Northeast Community College in Booneville and graduated from Blue Mountain College.
Celia House conducted the Carnegie Link Up program at Lawndale from the time it was launched by the Tupelo Schools, Carnegie and the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.
The musical instruments her students received last week are called recorders. The recorder is a wind instrument that dates from the 14th century and which falls into a general class of wind instruments called fipple flutes. The instrument was widely used in Baroque music, but its use declined in the 18th century in favor of woodwinds such as the flute, the oboe and the clarinet. The use of the recorder in orchestral music revived in the 20th century, and the recorder has become a very important instrument for music education in recent decades.
The New Albany elementary students will learn to play their recorders and study orchestral music through the school year. The program will culminate near the end of the school year when the New Albany students will play with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, which will be on stage in a concert at the New Albany High School auditorium.