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Sound of Charlotte Blog

How your Charlotte Symphony is giving back

As we face this global pandemic, the Charlotte Symphony has been tasked with adjusting to a new normal. Our musicians have turned their living rooms into performance spaces, Zoom has become a place for online learning, and our public performances have gone digital on #CSOatHome

The fear around this public health emergency is certainly overwhelming, but it has also shown us inspiring acts of kindness, both big and small, in our city and around the world. The musicians and staff of the CSO have been humbled by the immense support we've received during this very difficult time, and we've felt inspired to give back to our community. From offering free lessons and performances to healthcare workers and donating blood, to baking for neighbors and sewing masks, the CSO is doing what we can to pay it forward.

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Musicians of the Charlotte Symphony are volunteering to perform for healthcare workers at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center during their shift changes. Here, violinist Martha Geissler performs near the staff entrance.

"My feeling is if it gives even 5 or 10 seconds of respite from what they have faced and what they will continue to face, I feel honored." ~ Martha Geissler

Musicians from the Charlotte Symphony are offering free virtual lessons to healthcare professionals as a casual and fun respite from their daily work stress. The program consists of weekly, thirty minute lessons for six weeks. Healthcare workers that are interested should write to

Musicians and staff have been making and donating cloth face masks. Interim President and CEO Michelle Hamilton shows off some of the 120 masks she made for Charlotte Symphony staff, musicians, friends, and neighbors to help keep them safe during the pandemic. 

Multiple staff members have given blood to help with the critical nation-wide blood shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Grants Manager Caroline Cave smiles through her donation.

Development Coordinator Senta Harvey and her family moved up the delivery of their traditional holiday cookies for friends and neighbors. "We're going to do it during this time to spread smiles!" 

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

Educating from a distance

During this time of social distancing, our Education & Community Engagement team and Youth Orchestra Programs team have been hard at work creating and adapting content that teachers, students, orchestra members, and families can access from their homes.

As school instruction has moved to online classrooms, so have our musicians. They're providing virtual instrument coaching to students in local schools. In this Zoom meeting students, teachers, and CSO musicians follow along with the music as a violin student from Northwest School of the Arts performs solo.

Musicians and members of the staff have also participated in coaching and career panels, answering student's questions about what it's like to be a professional musician and what their career options are, both onstage and off. These panels are funded by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. 

Our Youth Orchestra's 2020-21 season auditions are complete! Everyone adapted quickly to conduct virtual auditions for over 200 students over the course of four days. 

The rehearsals must go on! Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion players from the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra get together virtually to check-in, discuss their music, and see familiar faces again.

Youth Philharmonic conductor Jessica Morel recorded lectures on Brahms and Beethoven, covering everything from the composers' childhood, personalities, and most famous pieces. 

In lieu of the special shout-outs they would have received at their final concert, Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees recorded special videos for the seniors, thanking them for their commitment to the program and sharing their plans for next year. 

For in-home learning, musical coloring pages and word searches are available at #CSOatHome, in addition to a series of virtual Education Concerts that include digital guides paired with audio playlists. Teachers and parents can choose the elements that best meet their needs to introduce young learners to classical repertoire. The program themes cover everything from fairy tales to math concepts and take participants on journeys into outer space and backwards through time. 

The Charlotte Symphony's staff and musicians are eager to find even more ways to stay connected with our community and provide educational resources during this time. Keep checking #CSOatHome for more content.

Posted in Education & Community. Tagged as Education.