The South Carolina Philharmonic has been awarded a $15,000 FY23 Term Arts Education Project Grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission to support the orchestra’s Link Up program, which is a collaboration with Carnegie Hall. The grant will serve over 2,000 students in Calhoun, Edgefield, Lee, Newberry and Saluda counties by providing free, high-quality, flexible, year-long curriculum that includes classroom materials, online video and audio resources, and the professional development and support necessary to make the program an engaging experience for students. Additionally, these districts will receive free admission and transportation to the SC Philharmonic’s presentation of the Link Up concerts during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.
The South Carolina Arts Commission is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and collaborates in its work with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and South Arts. This project is supported by funding provided to the South Carolina Arts Commission from a partnership with the S.C. Department of Education from American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds.
For more than 35 years, Link Up has paired orchestras with students in grades 3–5 at schools in their local communities to explore orchestral repertoire and fundamental musical skills, including creative work and composition, through a hands-on music curriculum.
The SC Philharmonic has successfully presented Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Link Up Program to Midlands’ public and private schools and home-schooled organizations for the past six years (pre-Covid). Now, under the direction of Susan Cafferty, the organization’s first full-time Education and Community Outreach Director, the SC Phil was eager to offer Link Up to counties in South Carolina that have little or no music programs at all, and limited access to supplementary programs and funding. According to the State Board of Education, Music Education has been identified as a critical need subject area, and Calhoun, Lee, Newberry and Saluda counties are considered critical need geographic areas. With the support of the Term Arts Education Project Grant, the SC Philharmonic will provide students and teachers two years of music curriculum, classroom materials, professional development, online and audio resources, as well as transportation and free admission to the orchestra’s performances of Link Up in January and February, 2023 and winter of 2024.
In an ongoing collaboration with Carnegie Hall, the South Carolina Philharmonic is participating in Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks – a music education program provided by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI). Over 7,500 students participating in the Link Up curriculum will attend one of four culminating concerts on January 31 and February 1 at Koger Center for the Arts in 2023, where they sing and play the recorder or the violin with the orchestra from their seats. This experience often serves as a students’ first concert and provides them with the opportunity to apply the musical concepts they have studied, and they get the experience of singing and playing the recorder or violin with the orchestra from their seats.
The SC Philharmonic’s presentation of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up Program, and the SC Arts Commission’s Term Arts Education Project Grant support demonstrates both organization’s endeavors to create exceptional educational experiences for the students of South Carolina.
Photo: Professional development underway in preparation for Link Up with teachers Gerard Lancaster (St. Matthews K8) and Jonathan Gore (Sandy Run K8).