12,000 Children Perform with RI Philharmonic at The VETS

RI Philharmonic & Carnegie Hall’s Link Up Concerts Cap Year of Music Education

On May 22, 23, 24 and 25, over 12,000 of the region’s third, fourth and fifth graders made their debut playing with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra at The VETS in Providence. The eight Link Up concerts are the culmination of a year of school-based music education with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School’s FLEX program (Foundations in Learning Exploration).

2017 marks the RI Philharmonic’s sixth season of Link Up, a program developed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Providing instruments, curriculum materials and professional development to schools, Link Up culminates in concerts where students play along with the Orchestra – not just for the finale, but for over 75% of the program. The program began in 2012 with 7000 children participating; this year, over twelve thousand children will play in eight concerts, titled “The Orchestra Rocks.” Funding for Link Up comes primarily from businesses, foundations and individuals.

“We are so proud of all the musical work the children in the Link Up program have accomplished this year with their incredibly talented classroom teachers.” said Annette Mozzoni, the Philharmonic’s Director of Education and the Music School. “It is thrilling to witness their enthusiastic music making as they demonstrate their artistry with the larger musical community.”


Teacher Remarks:
“We were all very impressed at the quality of the concert and how engaging it was for the kids. What a great experience for them. I wish we had something like this when I was in school, can’t wait for my younger kids to see this!”
“I decided to bring a group of students who are in a self-contained class for students with autism. One of my students loved the song “Ode to Joy” so much, he would walk in to music class asking to sing it.”

When asked what they thought, students responded:
• “This is the best thing ever! I love playing music and I’m going to do it for the rest of my life!”
• “That’s going to be me on stage!”
• “I can do it!”
• “Next year, I’m going to win and everyone will play my song!”


Designed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, Link Up provides recorders and workbooks for third, fourth and fifth graders and a hands-on in school curriculum that teaches the basics of music and music-making through performance and creative work. Aside from music literacy, the curriculum includes interdisciplinary lessons with historical and cultural contexts and a math exercise where students “score” melodies based on intervals. When students attend the culminating concert, they bring their instruments and become members of the orchestra – not just for the finale, but for over 75% of the concert.

“The Link Up program is also a fantastic example of 21st century music education; with a common-core aligned program, all stakeholders can be confident that English Language Arts, Math and Music Learning Standards are being taught in the music classroom and the concert hall using a high-quality and flexible curriculum.” said Amelia Nixon, Community Partnerships Manager at RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School.