News / USA

Musician Preps Kids for Carnegie Hall Debut

Program pairs professional musicians with students

Nathan Schram works with his students at P.S. 75, an elementary school in Brooklyn, New York.
Nathan Schram works with his students at P.S. 75, an elementary school in Brooklyn, New York.

Multimedia

Audio

Last October, Nathan Schram was giddy with anticipation.  He had graduated a year earlier from university and had just joined the Academy - a program designed to help classical musicians like himself take on the challenge of building a career.

The Academy’s philosophy is that, aside from being an excellent musician, success also means being an educator and ambassador for classical music.

So Schram was assigned to P.S. 75, an elementary school in a working class neighborhood of Brooklyn. He would be coaching some of the students in instrumental music.  Last October, he described how he felt about the invitation to join the Academy.

"It sounded like it was going to help me communicate better with audiences.  I was going to find a newer audience.  I was going to help people that might otherwise not be able to experience this music and maybe I could learn something from them, too."

Many days have now passed.  Last month, Schram was working toward the end of PS 75's academic year.

"It’s nice coming in here and building a relationship, seeing the kids that may be struggling one week all of a sudden are really doing incredibly well the next week."  

Schram and the school's violin teacher, Zelman Bokser, were helping students prepare for the Link-Up program - where the kids appear onstage at Carnegie Hall.

"So they’re going to be playing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  An arrangement a little bit of a simplified version of it, where they’re going to be doing Ode to Joy with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s."

Bokser says, in just five weeks, the kids had to learn seven new pieces to perform at Carnegie.

"None of it, for this particular group, none of it is a stretch, technically," Bokser says. "But learning so much of it in such a short time, that’s a big scramble - and they have to know it from memory."  

The fourth grade class couldn’t wait to get to Carnegie Hall.

"My name is Petal Jadeo and I was really surprised, because we never, ever, ever been to play to Carnegie Hall in our lives!"

And one week later, there they were.

The kids, in new T-shirts, shared the stage with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and other school children. Carnegie Hall’s vast auditorium was filled with students from all over the New York area. And when the time came, the kids played their hearts out.

Afterwards, the PS 75 students went to Central Park to eat some lunch and let off steam.

"I felt very excited," says Lizbeth Nuñez, "but when I was looking at the people I was like “whoa!” - more than 1,000 or 1,500 people were there."  

A week later, in a practice room at the prestigious Juilliard School, Schram reflected on his year in the Academy, his new friends and colleagues, performance opportunities and especially his experiences at P.S. 75.

"I just had my last teaching day today and it was, certainly, bittersweet; it was definitely, hands down, the hardest part of the program."  

Throughout the year, Schram performed in many places, with some of the biggest names in classical music. But, unlike his students, he was not onstage in the main auditorium at Carnegie Hall.  

But he’ll keep working on it next year, when he completes the second year of his fellowship and his work at P.S. 75.  

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid