Sinfonia Becomes Orchestra of Nearly 3,000 Students During Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks

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On March 6, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach was transformed into an electrifying concert hall when Sinfonia Gulf Coast — the only fully professional non-profit orchestra on the Emerald Coast founded in 2005 by music and artistic director Demetrius Fuller — presented its 12th live Link Up concert performance “The Orchestra Rocks,” a national program it presented in partnership with New York’s Carnegie Hall Weill Institute of Music.

This year’s Link Up program showcased the talents of nearly 3,000 local 3rd-5th grade students from Okaloosa and Walton Counties performing on recorder and singing. The concert was conducted by Sinfonia Gulf Coast Maestro Fuller.

With recorders in hand, the students performed from their seats when given their cue by Maestro Fuller to join the Sinfonia Gulf Coast orchestra for a range of pieces from Come to Play by Thomas Cabansis, La Follia by Antonio Vivaldi, excerpts from Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, O Fortuna from Carmina Burana and others. But these inspired kids didn’t stay in their seats at this spirited performance which ended with a celebration of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode they were up out of their chairs singing, dancing moves and parts they have been practicing for months.

Sinfonia Link UpThis curriculum is geared towards 3rd-5th grade students, and in many cases locally, is the only music education that they receive during the school year. The theme of this year’s Link Up program was centered around discovering how elements of rhythm and time can unite musicians, singers and audiences.

Sinfonia’s Link Up program is funded in part by the St. Joe Community Foundation, the Dugas Family Foundation and the Emeril Lagasse Family Foundation. Additional funding from Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s Crescendo! annual fundraiser, Treble Makers, an honorary membership committee of Crescendo! and community donors, has helped Link Up steadily grow to the Sinfonia’s largest education initiative.

For more information on Sinfonia Gulf Coast visit SinfoniaGulfCoast.org, call (850) 460-8800 or e-mail info@sinfoniagulfcoast.org.

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