A Program of Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute
and the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra

What is Link Up?

Link Up is a music education program created by Carnegie Hall to unite the classroom with the concert hall, giving students in grades 3–5 the opportunity to explore music through a yearlong curriculum of classroom activities and a culminating concert in which students perform with the Flagstaff Symphony

Students will explore orchestral music through a hands-on music curriculum. The program of skills-based and creative work in the classroom will culminate in a lively interactive concert at Ardrey Auditorium giving students the chance to demonstrate what they have learned by singing and playing recorder with the Flagstaff Symphony from their seats in the audience. Guided by conductor Charles Latshaw, the hour-long program of music-making and student response activities will also incorporate some of the students’ original compositions, student singers and players on stage, as well as soloists performing with the orchestra.

A video highlight of the 2020 concert, The Orchestra Sings.

 “That day was my best day, and I won’t forget that in my life.” – Lania, Fourth Grade Student

In the classroom, participants experience Carnegie-developed lessons that allow teachers the flexibility to adapt the curriculum according to their classrooms’ needs and goals. Link Up supports state standards and introduces instrumental music instruction with recorders.

3500 Flagstaff and regional students and teachers participate each year at no cost. Carnegie provides  instructional material, including rich on-line resources for extended learning. The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra provides the training, support, coordination and all the production and performance costs.

Area Music Educators provide the integral link to music learning in their classrooms throughout the year, using Link Up resources to guide instruction and prepare students for the interactive concert experience in early Spring. FUSD provides student transportation and safety coordination with NAU.

This collaboration brings the wonder and excitement of a live symphony orchestra in a large concert hall into the lives of Flagstaff children. Prior to Link Up, fewer than 5% of our community’s children had experienced this opportunity. The orchestra and the children are united in song, dance and performance, becoming a part of the community of music makers.

Flagstaff children write, “When the orchestra plays all together, it is the most amazing feeling. I can’t even explain it,” and “It felt incredible to play with the orchestra and sing with other schools.”

Coconino County Teacher of the Year, Josh Brink of Page, shared this: “Desert View students are so blessed to have the opportunity to participate in the Link Up programs presented by the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. These students are welcomed into the audience as another member of the musical community and feel connected to children outside our little city who are learning the same things! We are so grateful to get to sing, play, and move along with the FSO and other county schools each year during the unforgettable Link Up programs.”

FSO embraces a belief in the power of music and of the impact of a live concert, feeling the awe, excitement and joy that comes from the unique sound of a symphony in a concert hall.

Side by Side with the FSO.  This year’s Masterworks Side by Side Concert, January 21, will feature both high school string students and young violin students from the NAU Community Music and Dance Academy performing alongside members of the FSO.   Local string teachers in collaboration with Music Director collaborated to prepare the students.  The project supports the development of orchestra members of the future and connects FSO to these rising stars.

FSO Concert Connections. (On hiatus during the pandemic.)  This program features classroom to concert arts integration activities highlighting FSO programs developed with teachers to connect learning to orchestra performances.  FSO plans to reinstate its program of musical learning and concert attendance for secondary classes. These programs have included school collaborations with a team of teachers guiding student learning all subjects through musical connections, with students creating original work and attending FSO concerts.  FSO guest artists visit classrooms for live performances that highlight the concert program.  Earlier examples include collaborations with FSO guest artists to connect with individual schools as well as school and community programs, as well as a project for adjudicated youth.  Concert Connections feature interactive listening and individual creative projects, tied to classroom learning in multiple subjects. FSO also collaborates with Flagstaff agencies serving at-risk youth to sponsor concert attendance.