By Jenny Neyman
Step aside, Carnegie Hall. The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra’s Link Up program took center stage.
“It is a very education, fun concert. Every year we seem to do a little bit more and more. This year we’ve got 10 schools participating, which us the most ever,” said Tammy Vollom-Matturro, artistic director for the orchestra and coordinator for the Link Up concerts in Homer on Friday and Kenai on Saturday.
The program is a collaboration with Kenai Peninsula Borough schools, with students in third, fourth and fifth grades performing live onstage with the orchestra.
Link Up is put together by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, which provides the music, teacher guides, student materials and a slideshow to be played during the concert. Partner orchestras and schools across the country and around the world participate, including a giant concert at Carnegie Hall itself, which usually kicks off the program.
Except for this year, where the honor went to the Kenai Peninsula.
“I got a phone call from a lady from Carnegie Hall and she said, ‘You guys are the world premiere of The Orchestra Rocks.’ And I went, ‘What?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, we usually premier the concerts in Carnegie Hall first.’ But they love what the Kenai Peninsula does with the Link Up program and they’re letting us premiere it first,” Vollom-Matturro said.
The orchestra also recently received the Alaska Music Advocate of the Year Award from the Alaska Music Educators Association, in part for the Link Up program.
“We support music education. It’s in our mission statement, to do education, so we do a lot of stuff that includes kids,” Vollom-Matturro said.