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Charlotte Symphony Brings Music to Local Pre-School

Aug 7, 2018

From the minute the first string struck to the final, quavering note, the audience sat, transfixed. Then, almost as one, the dozens of children swarmed the musicians with enthusiasm, exploring up close something they had never seen before in their lives: the symphony.

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performed for about 80 families from Families First bilingual early childhood education programs in Cabarrus County in late April. The free concert was part of the symphony's community outreach program and one of the first geared toward preschool children.

"If they could walk, they were headed to those musicians," Spencer Swain, executive director of Families First in Cabarrus County, said. "It was really tailored toward them. He explained it well about different pieces they would do. I mean the look on some of the faces--you just can't put a price tag on it. They've never seen some of the instruments."

The event actually stemmed out of relationships with Reemprise Fund, which Families First connected with a few years ago through the SEED20 social venture initiative for nonprofits. The symphony was in the midst of kicking off a pilot program to work with preschools as part of their regular outreach.

"We are really committed at the symphony to making sure we are increasingly present in the different communities that surround us, and not just on our main stage," symphony CEO Mary Deissler said. "The Families First concert was a perfect example of that. We know the audience that comes to hear our concerts Uptown are dedicated and loyal, but they are one slice of the overall population of Charlotte, and it's been so gratifying to go out into the communities and see the reaction when we're in non-traditional stages."

By Erin Weeks, Independent Tribune
Full story here.