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Creative Music Making Program Brings Joy Through Unique Collaboration

The musicians in this concert wear brightly colored t-shirts. They sing, dance, and some tell jokes between songs. Not all performers play instruments as their careers, but all are true musicians. And their smiles couldn’t be any brighter.

SLSO musicians Will James, Principal Percussion, and Becky Boyer Hall, violinist, perform during the Creative Music Making culminating concert on February 27 at Maryville University.

This is the Creative Music Making concert, a transformative concert experience that fulfills the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s mission to enrich lives through the power of music.

Now in its 11th year, Creative Music Making is a unique partnership between the SLSO, St. Louis Arc, and Maryville University Music Therapy that empowers people with disabilities served by St. Louis Arc to conceive and perform their own concert.

“I think the arts are a real opportunity to connect people and it’s no different for Arc participants,” said Sharon Spurlock, Senior Director of Family Support at St. Louis Arc. “People experience the joy of creating something as well as the pure happiness from singing and performing together.”

This year, six SLSO musicians worked with St. Louis Arc clients and music therapy students and faculty from Maryville University to create, rehearse, and perform music based on the theme “We Will Rock You.”

Participating SLSO musicians this year included:

· Becky Boyer Hall, violinist

· Wendy Rosen, violinist

· Beth Chu, Principal Viola

· Vincent Karamanov, bassoonist

· Victoria Knudtson, French horn

· Will James, Principal Percussion

The theme was the inspiration for the program that was collaboratively developed on the first two days of the three-day program. Also, on the first day, SLSO musicians demonstrated their instruments to an enraptured audience. On the third day, everyone came together to joyously perform what they had created in a culminating concert at Maryville University.

“I love to participate in Creative Music Making because it brings to light the overwhelming enjoyment of making familiar songs meaningful to the Arc participants with words that brighten their lives,” said SLSO violinist Wendy Rosen.

Not only does the program bring joy to clients of St. Louis Arc, but Rosen said the concert gives joy to the family members of the participants.

“Our program seems to be a tremendous support to the families who are clearly lifelong caretakers for their loved ones,” she said. “It is also gratifying to see that the Maryville students truly appreciate our involvement and ability to easily add to the performances with our instruments.”

The SLSO is proud to partner with Maryville University and St. Louis Arc in this deeply moving program and concert experience.

“Our organizations have really great relationships. We maintain communication all year long to lay out the details,” Spurlock said. “We want to make sure it’s an EVENT when we have Creative Music Making. The SLSO offers so much to the event by providing world class musicians who are genuinely interested in creating music with diverse groups of people.”

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