Link Up

On May 4, 2017, Symphony Nova Scotia will present “Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks” with nearly 1,500 students from all over the province.

This Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute program pairs Symphony Nova Scotia with elementary students at local schools to explore orchestral repertoire through a hands-on music curriculum, culminating in a concert where they sing, play recorder, and/or play the violin with the orchestra from their seats.

“Link Up” is a highly participatory, internationally acclaimed program that pairs orchestras across the country with schools in their local communities. Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in 1985, the program invites students to learn about orchestras and symphonic music through a year-long, hands-on music curriculum. Each year focuses on specific concepts, including rhythm, melody, tempo, orchestration, and composition.

The culmination of the annual program is a live joint performance, giving students the opportunity to sing and play recorder or violin along with their partner orchestra. This performance often serves as students’ first concert experience, and provides them with a unique opportunity to apply the musical concepts they’ve studied.

Symphony Nova Scotia’s “Link Up” 2016 concerts happened on Thursday, May 5, with two performances at 10:30 and 12 pm. Between the two performances, 1500 students from Nova Scotia schools came together to play with the orchestra.

Conducted by Nova Scotia music education specialist Gary Ewer, the concerts are titled “The Orchestra Moves”, and feature a blend of traditional and classical music, arranged especially for the orchestra and students. Highlights include “Come to Play” by Thomas Cabaniss; The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss; “Nocturne” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn; and “Toreador” from Carmen by Georges Bizet, among others.

Participating schools in 2015 were from the South Shore Regional School Board, Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, and Halifax Regional School Board, and included:

  • Bayview Community School
  • Brooklyn District Elementary School
  • Colby Drive Elementary
  • Colonel John Stuart Elementary
  • Dartmouth Schools String Program
  • Dutch Settlement Elementary School
  • Gaspereau Valley Elementary School
  • Inglis Street School
  • Millwood Elementary
  • Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre
  • Nelson Whynder Elementary
  • Newport Station School
  • Seaside Elementary
  • Upper Musquodoboit Consolidated School
  • Westmount Elementary
  • William King Elementary School
  • Wolfville School

Due to space limitations, the concerts are not open to the public. Members of the media, school boards, and all levels of government are encouraged to attend.

Symphony Nova Scotia is one of more than 70 national and international organizations chosen for this program. Link Up’s national partnerships grew out of the program’s ongoing work with New York City schools, through which Carnegie Hall has engaged hundreds of thousands of students in musical learning since its inception in 1985.

Visit for a complete list of participants and further details.

The Link Up program in action:

About Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
The Weill Music Institute creates visionary programs that embody Carnegie Hall’s commitment to music education. With unparalleled access to the world’s greatest artists, the Weill Music Institute inspires audiences of all ages, nurtures tomorrow’s musical talent, and harnesses the power of music to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. An integral part of Carnegie Hall’s concert season, these programs facilitate creative expression, develop musical skills and capacities at all levels, and encourage participants to make lifelong personal connections to music. The Weill Music Institute generates new knowledge through original research and shares a wide range of free online resources with educators and music lovers around the globe. More than 450,000 people each year engage in the Weill Music Institute’s programs through national and international partnerships, in New York City schools and community settings, and at Carnegie Hall.

About Gary Ewer
Gary Ewer is a composer, arranger, conductor and clinician. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, he has an extensive background in instrumental and choral conducting. He is the current director of Dalhousie University’s Collegium Cantorum choir, as well as former director of the Dalhousie Chorale and Chamber Choir. He has also most recently been a Senior Instructor of Music at Dalhousie, teaching aural skills, music theory, orchestration, and choral techniques.

As a public school music teacher for many years, Gary conducted concert bands, choirs, and the Halifax Schools Symphony Orchestra. His choral and instrumental compositions and arrangements have been performed by the Elmer Isler Singers, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Halifax Camerata Singers, and many other ensembles. His works are published by Kelman Hall Publishing and Pantomime Music Publications. He is currently the conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia’s Education and Outreach school program.

Talk to us!

Do you have questions or comments about our education programs? We’d love to hear from you.

Please contact: D’Arcy Gray
Education and Community Outreach Coordinator, Symphony Nova Scotia